The President of the Paralympic Committee of Nigeria (PCN), Monday Emoghavwe, has predicted that the country would win more medals at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
Emoghavwe made the prediction while reacting to the honour bestowed on the athletes who won Gold medals at the 2012 London Paralympic Games by President Goodluck Jonathan.
He told NAN that the gesture was a departure from what happened in the past.
“The disabled sports has never had it so good and the non-recognition of disabled athletes by Nigeria’s past leaders was enough to dampen one’s spirit towards participating in sports in the country,” he said.
Emoghavwe said that following Mr President’s gesture, the committee would have no option than to surpass the London achievements in the 2016 games.
“To whom much is given, much is expected. I remember vividly when a former president said we should come and receive a golden handshake, when our counterpart in China we performed better than, were given $10 million, and a house each.
“Then, we came back and many Nigerians did not even know that we travelled for the Paralympic games.
“We are so happy that President Jonathan rewarded us, and he made us proud when he said that we were worthy of emulation,” Emoghavwe said.
The three-time paralympic gold medallist said that apart from the presidential awards, the cash reward by the National Sports Commission (NSC) was another source of motivation for the athletes ahead of the Rio Games.
NAN recalls that earlier, the NSC had given each paralympic gold medallist, $7, 500, silver medallist got $5, 000, while each bronze medallist received $2, 500.
Emoghavwe commended the NSC leadership for its support, saying that it would ginger them to do more.
“It was only in 2000 Commonwealth Games in Manchester that we were selected to be given winning bonuses and currently, the minister has extended it.
“There were loads of challenges in terms of finance and technical input, but I just thank God that our travelling to South Korea for a training tour boosted our performance.
“You get a better result when you move an athlete out of his country to where he will focus very well and we were able to manage the challenges with the help of the minister who deemed it fit to send us on a training tour,” he added.
NAN reports that Emoghavwe has won gold for the country in power-lifting in three paralympic games.
His first attempt was at the 1992 Barcelona games when he lifted 48kg.
He also finished top of the 60kg and 67.5kg categories at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and 2000 Sydney games respectively.