The minister of youth and sports development, Sunday Dare, has saluted Team Nigeria’s Paralympian for making the country proud at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Receiving the victorious first batch of the Paralympians back from Tokyo yesterday at the Muritala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, the minister said: “I’m proud of these Paralympians just the same way I’m proud of every Nigerians who go out there wearing our national colour to compete on behalf of Nigeria.
“Just to even qualifying to get to the Olympics is a big deal and these ones have gone there and done Nigeria proud, that is why I’m here receiving them warmly the same way we received other batches of athletes that have gone out to represent Nigeria.”
He attributed the Paralympians successes in Tokyo to discipline, consistency and sacrifice. “What you are seeing today is evidence of works that were done for the past two years not just on part of the government, but the athletes themselves.
Discipline, sacrifice, consistency, training and what we have done was just to add a bit of support by giving them the right camping atmosphere and ensuring they travel around the world to compete, and we are seeing the results today.
“In six weeks we have seen Nigeria participate in three global international competitions, from the Olympics to the world athletics championship in Nairobi, Kenya and the Paralympics. And we have seen almost a total of seventeen to eighteen medals, which show that sports in this country have hit a new trajectory, a trajectory in which we are going to produce some of the best talents and athletes in the world.,” Dare said.
The athletes, mainly the powerlifters, arrived in Lagos Thursday afternoon aboard an Ethiopian Airlines flight to the warm welcome of the Minister Sunday Dare, special assistant on sports to President Buhari, Daniel Amokachi, as well as an appreciable number of journalists and supporters.
Meanwhile, Eucharia Iyiazi on Thursday increased Team Nigeria’s medals haul at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo by winning a bronze medal in the women’s seated shot put event.
In the final of the event’s F57 class at the Olympic Stadium, Iyiazi had a season-best throw of 10.40 metres to finish third and claim the bronze medal.
Algeria’s Safia Djelal, who is the world and Paralympic record-holder in the F56 class of the event, created a new world record in the F57 with 11.29m to win the gold medal. China’s Xu Milan heaved 10.81m to finish second and win the silver medal.
Iyiazi’s victory took Nigeria’s medals tally at the Games to three gold, one silver and four bronze medals.