As athletes get heroic welcome in Abuja
From ROMANUS UGWU, Abuja
The triumphant Team Nigeria Paralympic athletes yesterday arrived the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja to a rousing heroic welcome from hundreds of posters-bearing Nigerians as the Senate President urged the federal government to reward the athletes.
Before their arrival, it was an endless drumming, singing and dancing as the Boys Brigade Abuja musical band and the Pyakasa Youth Cultural Group, Abuja held the enthusiastic crowd waiting to get a glimpse of the victorious Paralympic team spellbound.
The crowd which gathered as early as 2.30pm and waited patiently for hours on end for the arrival of the team, went into ecstatic mood and more dancing on sighting them, jostling and surging to have handshakes or take pictures with them.
Meanwhile, Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, has charged the federal government to reward the Paralympic athletes handsomely for making the country proud, stressing that they deserve the reward.
Fielding questions from journalists on arrival at the International wing of the Abuja Airport, the former governor of Kwara State said that though he cannot specifically make any recommendation on the kind of reward the federal government should give them, the National Assembly will however invite, parley and host them very soon.
According to him; “I think they did very well considering the quantity and quality of medals they gathered at the Rio Games. We need to encourage them like we did to the able bodied athletes and should be our focus now.”
Addressing the athletes that shattered both world and Paralympic records during a brief ceremony on arrival by 5.40pm yesterday, Director; Youth Development, Luka Jonathan Magset, who represented both the minister and the permanent secretary assured that they will be given heroic welcome.
Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
• China 105 81 51 237
• Great Britain 64 39 44 147
• Ukraine 41 37 39 117
• 16. Nigeria 8 2 2 12