Paralympic coach seeks prayers from Nigerians

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Feyisetan Are, the head coach of the Nigeria Para-Powerlifting Federation (NPPF) has urged fans to support Team Nigeria to the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games with prayers. He made the request in a telephone interview with newsmen on Thursday, before the team’s departure for the Games, holding in Brazil from Sept. 5 to Sept.18.

Are said the national team camped in Abuja, where the lifters were put through thorough preparations to be in top form, ahead of the competition. He said that the lifters, in spite of the preparations, still needed the spiritual support from Nigerians, to ensure a good outing at the Games.

“I believe just as the Bible says that it is not of him that willeth or runneth but of God that showeth mercy. So, we really need the prayers. “The para-athletes are here again to remove the shame where the able-bodied athletes could not win more than one bronze medal for the nation at the just concluded Olympics.

“Our preparation is geared toward bringing honour to our great nation by doing what the able-bodied could not do, and putting smiles on the faces of our fans and Nigerians. “We did it in 2012 London Olympics where we won remarkable medals for the nation with six gold, five silver and 2 bronze; so, we will surely repeat the feat,’’ the coach said.

He was confident that the athletes would be of good behaviour and great ambassadors of the nation in Brazil, throughout the competition. According to him, the athletes have the wealth of experience on the dos and don’ts of the Games, which was re-emphasised during the camping.

“The athletes are exposed and they know the penalty involved. “But more significantly, the sports Minister, Solomon Dalung, warned us to compete clean and avoid any act capable of tarnishing our good image. “He stressed that the ministry would not take it kindly with any athlete caught spiking his or her system with performance-enhancing or prohibited drugs to win,’’ he said.

A 29-man contingent comprising 23 athletes and six coaches on Thursday departed the country for Brazil through the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. The team travelled aboard Emirates Airline. Team Nigeria will take part in three events – Power-lifting, para-athletics and table tennis – at the Games.

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