PARALYMPICS: WE’LL DO EVEN BETTER AT RIO 2016
Posted: Sep 14, 2012
One of Nigeria’s coaches to the London 2012 Paralympic Games, where the Country performed excellently, Feyisetan Are, recounts the team’s success whilePromising a better outing in four years’ time. He spoke with JAMES AGBEREBI
How would you describe the just concluded London 2012 Paralympic games?
This is one of the best Paralympic Games I have ever seen. The hosts did a wonderful job organization wise. They really put in a lot of effort and I must say kudos to them, they didn’t disappoint, and I hope come 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, they too will not disappoint us.
Six gold, five silver, two bronze. How would you describe the performance of the Nigerian athletes?
I don’t know how to describe the performance of the Nigerian athletes. But what I can say is that, compared to past outings and in terms of giving Nigeria fame, it is the best.
Did you ever imagine that the athletes would perform especially after the dismal outing of the able-bodied athletes who failed to pick a single medal in London?
I had the belief the athletes would perform. I never had any doubt in my mind; after all, they’ve been performing in past Paralympics. Also, I knew they would perform because the National Sports Commission did a lot for the athletes. I can tell you that this is the first time that the disabled athletes were camped for long ahead of the Paralympics. At least we spent two months in South Korea preparing. It was not easy. And also we were paid our money as and when due. So what else do we want? They gave us good facilities, bought equipment for us to train with. So for me, they did well for us and credit must go to them.
How would you react to the President hosting the Paralympians in Abuja?
First let me refer back to 2010 Commonwealth games. After the athletes returned, they were instantly rewarded for their effort. And I will like to let you know that it was Chief Patrick Ekeji who introduced the idea of instant payment for the athletes. This time around, we are going to the presidency, which is a very good thing. We just came in and now we will be hosted by the President and other top dignitaries. I tell you I feel like a super star because it is a great achievement.
What would be your advice in terms of support and reward for the disabled athletes?
My advice is that everything should not be left to the National Sports Commission or the President alone. We have companies like the telecommunication companies and banks, who make a lot of money in the country. Or do they want to tell me that physically challenged people don’t use their network? Or physically challenged people don’t put money in the bank? This people should come out and support. Because it will not be good that in the next four or five years, for someone who did the country proud and who cannot join the Police or Army to be wandering about, while the people they patronize are not supporting them. We should not always wait for the federal government to do everything, they should also come out and support.
Looking ahead to Rio de Janeiro 2016, what advice would you give so that the athletes would do even better?
Right now we are number one in power-lifting. My advice is for the National Sports Commission to set up a programme which will see the athletes go into camp early. Because if this is done, the athletes will surpass the achievement in London by winning more gold medals. Like I said, they did their best in terms of preparation and you will not believe that some athletes have gone to camp ahead of the 2016 Paralympics.
How would you react to reports making the rounds that the athletes were abandoned at the airport when they arrived from London?
It depends on what you mean by being abandoned. As far as I’m concerned, I am not aware of the athletes being abandoned. All I can say is that the government has done their best and we appreciate them for that.
Today on Complete Sports
Most Recent Stories
- » Namibia Coach Rues Players Poor Fitness Ahead Eagles clash (0 comments)
- » Mikel On Course To Reclaim Chlesea Playing Time (0 comments)
- » Eagles Face Adidas XI Monday (0 comments)
- » Moyes Eyes Thiago (0 comments)
- » Santos Reject Barca's €20m Neymar Bid (0 comments)
- » KESHI GIVES UP ON MIKEL (0 comments)
- » Chelsea Swoop On Yilmaz, Arda Turan (0 comments)