Team Nigeria’s contingent to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games is expected to depart today for Brazil.
Paralympic Committee Nigeria Media Officer, Mr. Patrick Ibeh, said the team which is made up of 23 athletes and six coaches plus one athlete’s competition partner will depart the country through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja via Emirates Airline at 5pm.
The Secretary General of Nigeria Paralympic Committee, Dr. Frank Thorpe and some senior officials of the sports ministry to Rio are in the advanced party that will welcome the athletes on arrival in Rio tomorrow night.
The Sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, charged the athletes to go for gold and be good ambassadors of the country by competing clean at the Games even as he emphasised on the need for them to be of good behaviour and avoid any act capable of tarnishing the good image of the country.
Dalung warned that the sports ministry will not take it kindly with any athlete caught spiking his system with performance enhancing drugs in order to excel.
He stressed that available records showed that Nigeria has in the past been doing well at the Paralympic Games especially the last edition held in London, 2012 where the country won 6 gold, 5 silver and 2 bronze medals.
President of Paralympic Committee Nigeria, Monday Emoeghavwe, is optimistic that the athletes will not be of any disgrace in Rio.
According to him, “the expectations are high and the athletes who are already in high spirit to do the country proud by winning laurels at the Games are set to go”, he remarked.
One of them, Nick Chinedu Emmanuel, a table tennis player said he is not going to Rio to see Marcopolo buses rather his mission to Brazil is to win gold for Nigeria.
Also sounding optimistic is the power-lifting head coach, Prince Are Feyisetan who has vowed to repeat his London 2012 Paralympic Games magic of six gold medals if the lifters adhere to instructions and no biased officiating.
Nigeria will compete in only three sports – para-athletics, power-lifting and table-tennis.