By Ben Efe
Five Nigerian paralympians who were scheduled to participate at this year’s International Paralympics committee athletics championships in Lyon, France but failed to attend, have been licking their wounds.
According to one of the athletes, a discus thrower, their inability to be in France for the championships was a great disservice to their career as para athletes.
“It is a pity how we disabled athletes are being treated in Nigeria. After all the training and suffering, we were told that we cannot go anywhere. This is killing our morale,” said the athlete at the National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos.
Secretary of the Nigeria Paralympics committee, Frank Thorpe said that Nigeria was not represented at the IPC world Championships because there wasn’t any money to ferry the athletes to Lyon.
“We applied for funds to attend but the NSC told us there wasn’t any to give to us and all our efforts to secure private sponsorship failed to yield any result. Five athletes and two officials were penciled down to go to Lyon. This is out of the 12 slots given to us by the IPC. Now that we realise that government alone cannot carry us, we are doubling our efforts to raise funds.
“This is because we cannot afford to miss all these international events. We need to attend and expose our athletes because next year we have the Commonwealth Games and then 2016 the Paralympics in Rio, Brazi,” said Dr. Thourpe.
The event which began on July 19 will end on Sunday.