After the violent protests embarked upon by athletes with Disabilities in Lagos in the last week to denounce their exclusions from the 21st National Sports Festival to be hosted by Delta State in Asaba, Organisers of the ‘Nigerian Olympic’ have reversed their earlier stand.
Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development (FMY&SD), in consultation with ‘Stakeholders in Sports’ have re-listed the following Para sports to the National Sports Festival in Delta State. They include: Para Athletics, Para Table Tennis, Para Powerlifting and Deaf Sports of (Athletics and Table Tennis).
In a statement issued yesterday by the Director, Press & Public Relations of the FMY&SD, Mohammed Manga, “ the decision (to reinstate the Para sports) was taken in the overall interest of sports development in Nigeria, as the National Sports Festival has become the Flagship Games for the discovery, grooming and empowerment of our youth athletes.”
He however stressed that the Ministry “condemns the behaviour of some misguided athletes who engaged in unwarranted acts of protests and blackmail without recourse to due process.”
Manga described the protests as a breach of Nigeria’s sports ethical code.
“The Ministry wishes to state further that it will apply the rules in dealing with such acts in due course. Athletes must learn to follow the due process laid down for resolving issues,” the statement warned.