Para-athletes from Delta are ready for the forthcoming National Sports Festival in Edo to sweep medals.
Alli Abdulazeez, the Coach of the para-athletes in Delta for the festival, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Tuesday.
He spoke during their training session at the National Stadium, Surulere, where they were camped.
Mr Abdulazeez said he was training the deaf athletes that would represent Delta at the Edo 2020, while other para-athletes were having their training in Asaba, Delta.
He said the athletes had trained hard to win gold and other medals at the festival, saying that the state had provided the necessary logistics for the event preparation.
“I have 12 deaf athletes in Lagos for training. We arrived camp on Sunday.
“All the logistics needed for training were provided by Delta State Government. We are ready for gold and other medals.
“So far so good in camp. The athletes with me will participate in javelins, short-put and discus, sprint 100m, 200m for male and female,” he said.
The coach commended the state government for coming to the rescue of the para-athletes.
He said some of the athletes had participated in national sports festival before now, assuring the state of medals.
Mr Abdulazeez in a recent interview with NAN, complained that no state of the federation had indicated interests to sponsor any para-athlete to Edo 2020.
He noted that in the past before the festival, different states would have indicated the athletes that would represent them in the various sporting activities.
He said that it was during sports festival that para-athletes used to receive funds for training and other logistics to take care of themselves.
“There is no encouragement for those training the physically challenged athletes. There are no facilities for training.
“Government should provide permanent and moveable facilities. Currently, we are improvising facilities for training.
“Improvising is a big challenge. Due to employment problem, physically challenged athletes are not part of government’s plan.
“Some are interested in the sports but there is no encouragement from organisations and individuals.
“As a coach with passion to train the physically challenged athletes, I put in my money. I am only encouraged whenever they attend national sports festival and win medals.
“We are hoping that in future, they may be selected to represent Nigeria at international competitions,’’ Abdulazeez said.