By; AYO OJEDOKUN, Lagos
With the 2019 National trials concluded successfully in Lagos, the leadership of the Nigeria Para-Athletics Federation (NPAF) has said that their focus is to ensure that a good number of Nigerian athletes qualify for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Japan with the aim of winning laurels for the country.
President of the Federation, Hon. Amobi Chikwendu expressed this while speakinh to New Nigerian Sports after addressing the athletes at the end of a two-day selection trials held at the main bowl of the National Stadium Surulere, Lagos where team Nigeria athletes to the World Para-Athletics Grand Prix holding next week in Tunis, Tunisia were selected.
Hon. Chilkwendu commended the athletes for putting up brilliant performance which accounted for the improved standard recorded in this year’s championship ahead of the continental showdown in North Afrca.
Despite challenges being posed by paucity of funds which has been hindering the Federation from carrying out its programmes as planned, the president charged the athletes to continue to put in their best by training hard even as he assured them of more qualifiers ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
These include the two World Championships in France and Dubai coming up in November, 2019 and the Africa Para Games holding in Morocco in January, 2020 which are all Tokyo 2020 qualifiers.
Since the Federation needs funds to attend all these qualifers, Hon Chikwendu appealed to the Ministry of Sports, corporate organisations and well meaning individuals to come to their aid by contributing funds to help the Nigeria athletes achieve their dream of winning laurels for the country.
It is on record that the Nigeria Para-Athletics has been on the forefront of winning laurels for Nigeria in international competions just the way they did at the Gold Coast 2019 Commonwealth Games in Australia by accounting for 2 gold and 1 Silver out of the 12 medals Nigeria won at the Games.
Not only that, Para-Athletics athletes also won 2 gold including Silver and bronze at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in Brazil and also set two wold records at the Games among others.