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Nigerians bank on disabled athletes for gold

Nigerian sports officials are banking on Blessing Okagbare, Special sports athletes to win gold at the Commonwealth Games, starting Sunday in New Delhi, India.

Nigeria’s brightest chances for gold at the Games is Blessing Okagbare. She is the leading long jumper in the Commonwealth nations with 6.88m jump. She is likely to get a medal in the 100m women with her 11. 06 seconds personal best.

There is also female wrestler, Ifeoma Iheanacho who won bronze at the World Championships in Russia. However, the major lift will be from special sports athletes who have made something out of nothing in previous games.

The final batch of athletes left on Tuesday to join others who had arrived weekend, to the warm welcome of India hospitality even with snakes in the Games Village rooms.
National Sports Commission director-general, Patrick Ekeji while sending forth the athletes in Lagos, had noted that there was no training tour for the athletes. That notwithstanding, he still expects Nigeria to be the best African nation at the Games.

“We want to emerge as the best African country at the Commonwealth Games. And we only hope they will do their best to win because the competition is an avenue to win,’’ Mr. Ekeji said.

Speaking on her chances, Melbourne 2006 triple jump silver medalist, Otonye Iworima said that though training was not very conducive for her and the others, that she is aiming for gold in New Delhi.
She did 13.70m at the last hurdle and she is hoping to make more improvement.


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