The Paralympic Committee Nigeria in conjunction with the Ministry of Youth and Sports has named 23 athletes and six coaches that will represent Nigeria at the forthcoming Rio 2016 Paralympic Games holding between September 7 and 18, 2016 in Brazil.
The Media Officer of the Paralympic Committee Nigeria, Mr. Patrick Ibeh, said on Sunday that Team Nigeria will compete in three sports where it has comparative advantage at the Games. The events are athletics, power-lifting and table-tennis.
Ibeh listed six athletes made up of five females and one male to compete in athletic events while 14 athletes (7 males and 7 females) are to take part in power-lifting events. Table-tennis has three athletes (2 males and 1 female) representing Nigeria.
Competing in athletics events are, Hannah Babalola, Eucharia Iyiazi, Lauritta Onye, Lovina Onyegbule, Flora Ugwunwa while Friday Aibangbe is the only male athlete in the event. Patrick Aieto and Adekunle Adesoji are the two accompanying coaches.
Those for power-lifting include, Nsini Ben, Lucy Ejike, Ndidi Nwosu, Bose Omolayo, Josephine Orji, Esther Onyema and Latifat Tijani (all women) while Yakubu Adesokan Roland Ezuruike, Abdulazeez Ibrahim, Nnamdi Innocent, Opeyemi Jegede, Paul Kehinde and Tolu-lope Taiwo are to compete in the men’s category.
Prince Are Feyisetan, Luke Ibeh are the male accompanying coaches with Patience Igbiti as the only female coach. Faith Obiorah (female), Ahmed Koleosho (male) and Emmanuel Nick (male) are those for table-tennis with Chinedu Njoku as their coach.
Secretary General of the Paralympics Committee Nigeria, Dr. Frank Thorpe who departed for Rio at the weekend ahead of the Games has commended the Sports Ministry for not neglecting the Paralympics athletes but provided a level playing ground for them while the President of PCN, Monday Emoeghavwe is optimistic of Team Nigeria’s good outing at the Rio 2016 Paralympics
The team won 6 gold, 5
silver and 2 bronze medals to take the team’s total haul from previous edition to 26 gold, 11 silver and 12 bronze totaling 49 medals since first outing at the Barcelona 1992 Paralympic Games.
“Team Nigeria Paralympic athletes have never been found wanting when it comes to winning medals for the country. This is why Nigerians usually bank on them for medals when the chips are down no matter the colour of medals.
“We are always at the fore-front of winning medals for Nigeria in any event. We don’t go to any championship jamboree or mere participation. We go there to do Nigeria proud by winning medals.” Dr. Thorpe remarked before departure to Rio.