BY JOE APU
President General of the Nigeria Football and other Sports Supporters Club, Rafiu Ladipo has joined the growing number of Nigerians calling on the federal government to reward the Team Nigeria Paralympic athletes for making Nigeria proud in Rio.
Speaking in Lagos, Ladipo said the Paralympians performed creditably well winning 8 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze medals to finish 16th on the table.
“Team Nigeria Paralympic athletes did not just do well at the Paralympic Games in Rio, they broke world and paralympic records in the process. Their effort calls for special recognition and reward. While commending these athletes, I also want to call on the federal government to give them financial rewards.
“It would go a long way in making them happy and also give encouragement to others like them that they can also earn a living through sports.”
On the Olympic Games proper, Ladipo blamed government for Nigeria’s poor showing noting that the country goes to sleep after every Olympic Games.
“In spite of the manpower and talents that abound in Nigeria, the country still pays lip service to sports. It is common knowledge that the Olympic Games hold every four years and that as one ends, preparations for the next one begins in earnest.
Some countries prepare their teams between eight and 12 years but over the years, we still wait until it’s about three months to the Games before we start running around. We must change our attitude and get down to business by identifying talents, train them, monitor them and give them all the desired support they deserve so as to make it easy for them to win medals.”
Tokyo 2020 is just around the corner, we should therefore put plans to work now if we must win medals better than what we saw at Atlanta’96.”