Taiwo Kasunmu, Vice-President, Para Athletics Federation of Nigeria (PAFN), on Thursday said that the Para athletes might miss the World Para Grand Prix Athletics Championship in France due to lack of funds.
Kasunmu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that Para athletes presently preparing for the world contest had been left without help either from the government or private organisations.
“We are preparing for the World Grand Prix Athletics Championship to qualify for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Japan among the championships, we need to go for the France Grand Prix which is coming up in September, but we were unable to get funds.
“Four of the athletes that went to Tunisia all qualified, the next Paralympic Games we will be having about 169 Games to showcase that cuts across all forms of disability and Nigeria can do well in most of these events.
“Due to lack of funds, by the time the African Games for Para-athletes comes up in January in Morocco next year, instead of having enough athletes to go, we will be going with less athletes which is not good,’’ he said.
Kasunmu urged the new Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, to see to the plight of Para sports and how they could be well funded for optimal performances.
“My advice to the new minister is to try and see how Para sports can be well funded because in the last Olympic Games, able-bodied persons were unable to do up to what the Para athletes did by wining more medals for the country.
“The Para athletes went to the Paralympics and came back with more medals, but for now, Para sports are being treated as second fiddle of which it shouldn’t be.
“We are normal humans except for a little defect, we all have families, so, if we are able to showcase what our ability in disability is, it will make Nigeria proud.