The Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has concluded plans to organise the first-ever National Para-Sports festival in April this year.
According to a statement released by Mohammed Manga, Director Press & Public Relations of the Ministry on Monday said the multi-sports event will hold from April 9-15 in Abuja.
In the statement, Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare noted that the “maiden edition of the Para-Sports Games is aimed at giving People With Disability (PWD) in sports a sense of belonging and opportunity to exhibit all their potentials”.
The Minister who spoke through the Director, National Sports Festival and Para-Sports Department of the Ministry, Mr. Peter Nelson, stated that the event is in line with the present administration’s policy of inclusion in ensuring that Para-Sports are given the same opportunity as their able-bodied counterparts.
He revealed that the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation has earlier approved the establishment of the National Sports Festival and Para-Sports Department.
“This will facilitate the development of Para-Sports in Nigeria, give room for more Para-Sports to thrive, give opportunity for young Athletes to exhibit their talents as well as explore other Para-Sports that have not had the opportunity to feature in major sporting events for possible medal haul during tournaments,” the statement reads.
Fifteen Para-Sports are expected to participate in the median edition of the Festival, which includes: Para-Powerlifting, Para-Athletics, Para-Table Tennis, Deaf Sports, Para-Soccer, Wheel Chair Tennis, Para-Badminton, Para-Canoe, Sitting Volleyball, Wheel Chair B/Ball, Amputee Football, Para-Swimming, Para-Taekwondo, and Para-Shooting.
It is believed that Para-Sports have produced the highest number of medals in the Paralympic Games for the Country since Nigeria started participating in the Games, hence the need for a stage where more Athletes can be discovered, developed and projected.