Athletes who represented Nigeria at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics have called on the federal and state governments to reward them like their Olympic counterparts.
Nigeria won 10 medals – four gold medals, one silver medal, and five bronze medals at the 2020 Paralympics, finishing 33rd on the medals table.
At the Olympics, the country however won only two medals, silver in women’s wrestling by Blessing Oborududu and bronze in long jump by Ese Brume.
The PUNCH reported that Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, gave instant cash rewards of $10,000 and $7500 to Oborududu and Brume respectively after their feats.
The PUNCH also reported that Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, gave N4m cash reward to Oborududu.
Our correspondent however leant that no cash rewards have been promised the paralympians after their exploits.
Speaking with our correspondent, bronze medallist Lauritta Onye, said they had over the years asked for better treatment to no avail.
“They only came to welcome us at the airport with drums, after that nothing has been done. We asked for cash rewards in Japan, but they said they were going to give us in Nigeria, but up till now, we are yet to get anything,” Onye told The PUNCH.
“There is nothing we can do about this neglect. The neglect has been going on for years and I have taken it as I see it,” Onye, who has two Paralympics medals, added.
Latifat Tijani, who won Nigeria’s first gold medal at the 2020 Paralympics, also decried the poor treatment.
“If the government treated us better, we would have won more medals at the Olympics. Many of us who go to the Olympics are breadwinners of our families, but we don’t get enough support from the government despite all our efforts,” Tijani told The PUNCH.
Para-table tennis player Ahmed Koleosho also said it was sad that athletes were being discriminated against because of their disabilities.
“We should get better treatment because we perform better, so we should be given more attention and recognition. But we just have to try and turn a blind eye and look the other way,” Koleosho told The PUNCH.
“It is absurd that in this jet age and civilisation, no matter how good you are, people won’t recognise you because of your disability.”
Posted by: PunchNews