By AKOJEDE OLANREWAJU

A National Para-Powerlifting Team Coach, Feyisetan Are and some other para-athletes on Monday commended the Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, over the palliatives to disabled athletes.

The medal winning coach, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria said that the palliatives had come as a huge relief to the affected athletes as a result of COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

Are said that the effect of the COVID-19 had been sore to the disabled athletes, adding that the affected athletes needed more support to complement the minister’s gesture.

“”It has been a very tough call for our members during the COVID-19 lockdown to the extent that many are now doing menial jobs to stay alive, with this, it has been with little income.

“”We have to thank our honourable minister of Youths and Sports Development for deeming it fit to come to our aid. It’s such a good gesture that he recognises us.

“I believe that the minister has set a template for others to follow because government cannot do it alone; others should also support what Dare has done for us.

“”For example, if an able bodied man gets N10,000 as palliative, then a disable person should get double, like N20,000 because of his condition. An able bodied can struggle to fend for himself, but we cannot.

“”Our only means of livelihood is sport which is not in place again because of COVID-19, we need more help from well-meaning Nigerians,” he said.

Also, Nigeria’s and five-times Paralympian, with three Gold and two Silver, Lucy Ejike, commended Dare for the gesture, adding that the palliatives had come at the right time.

“”A special thanks to the minister for his kind gesture, especially the money given to us, it has gone a long way in helping and motivating us.

“I received my palliative from the minister and I also get a promise of more.

“My colleagues also got theirs as well. This will help because the stipends we are collecting before had ceased because of the lockdown,” she said.

Another Para-athlete, a Gold medalist in Powerlifting at Rio 2016, Kehinde Paul, said that the palliatives coming from the Sport’s minister was because of his fatherly role to the disabled athletes.

“”The sports minister has played a fatherly role by coming to our aid in this tough times because we have not been active for a while.

“I have been trying my best to train in my local gym to keep fit, but I must commend the minister, he has really tried for the para-athletes and the physically-challenged. We got money to buy foodstuffs.

“The money will help us and for upkeep of our families and I believe that we will still have more from the minister, it’s a gesture that will remain in our memories,” he said. (NAN)

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