The Guild of Nigerian Sports Editors wednesday congratulated Team Nigeria’s special athletes, who have defied all odds to excel at the on-going Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
As at the last count, Team Nigeria has won eight gold, two silver and one bronze medals to better the Sydney 2000 Paralympics all-time haul of seven gold, one silver and five bronze medals.
In a communiqué signed by the Guild’s President, Tony Ubani, the body described the team’s feat as “remarkable and encouraging in these difficult times, especially when it is considered that they had little or no motivation from those who were supposed to prepare them for the competition.”
It added: “It is instructive that when Nigerians are reeling from the effects of the current economic recession ravaging the country, a group of special athletes are in far away Rio de Janeiro, Brazil showing the whole world that we can rise above our adversity to rub shoulders with the best in the world in any endeavour.
“We, therefore, urge the Federal Government, especially the principal officers of the Sports Ministry, to without delay show that Nigeria cares for them.”
“We also implore President Muhammadu Buhari to adequately reward these heroes and ensure Nigeria uses their success story to re-awaken the ‘Can Do’ spirit of Nigerians in this harsh economic climate,’ Ubani further said and reminded the president about the need to revisit the sports sector for a surgical operation.
“All over the world, sports is not only seen as a recreation, but also as a business. Apart from its physical and mental benefits, sports also have psychological and social benefits, as it plays positive role in youth development, which includes but not limited to improved academic performance, as well as arresting youth restiveness,” said Ubani.
He urged the Federal Government to engage the army of unemployed youths in Nigeria in meaningful employment using sports.
“We want the president to address issues bothering on the quality of those administering sports, facilities and policies,” Ubani added.