FIC Report (Abia State) – The Wife of the Governor, Mrs. Nkechi Ikpeazu, has flagged off the 4th Edition of the Nkechi Ikpeazu National Open Parabadminton Competition at the Women Development Centre in Umuahia.
Speaking during the ceremony, Mrs. Nkechi Ikpeazu, charged the participants to be more committed to the competition.
She hinted that the concept of Nkechi Ikpeazu National Open Parabadminton Championship is aimed at fostering national unity, giving the disabled a sense of belonging in society and encouraging them to excel by stimulating competitiveness. She said the Games creates a platform for Nigeria to achieve a leading position in a global competitive sport for the physically challenged and at the same time promotes the indisputable position of Abia State as the leading state in sports development.
The Wife of the Abia State Governor further said the Nkechi Ikpeazu Championships which is in its fourth season is providing Athletes the much needed exposure to prepare for upcoming national and international competitions.
Mrs. Ikpeazu, however, lamented that sports development in Nigeria is at low ebbs because of sponsorship.
She said that it is important for government and corporate organizations to invest in growth of sports as it has many benefits.
”I think it is time for government to consider granting concessions and tax holidays for organizations who invest significantly in sports development”, she said.
The Wife of the Governor, explained that the competition which started in 2016 had suffered a two year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but expressed happiness that the competition is back.
She commended the Federal Government’s introduction of a sports festival for disabled persons, named (National Para Sports Festival)to take place in April this year, and expressed hope that Nkechi Ikpeazu National Open Parabadminton Championship will be a warm up for that event.
She also disclosed a cheering news that she has acquired Gym Training Equipment for power lifters and weightlifters in Abia.
“We are currently setting up a modern gym inside the stadium where the equipment will be installed and this will help our Team prepare for the National Games” she added.
Mrs. Nkechi Ikpeazu thanked the Governor of Abia State, Victor Okezie Ikpeazu, whom she described as the Pillar behind this Championship all these years and inspired her to support Para sports.
She used the medium to welcome the new Chairman of the Abia Badminton Association, Mr Abel Sunday, and commended him for being proactive, in rolling out an ambitious programme to take badminton to secondary schools, and encouraged him to be focused, dedicated.
“I want to thank all the sports lovers that have showed up to support us. We are ready for this competition. We welcome all the Athletes from all over Nigeria to this event and urge them to compete fairly. May the best Athletes win.”
Speaking further, the Chairman Badminton Association, Abia State, Mr. Abel Sunday charged the Players to be more dedicated in this particular competition.
He reminded them that this is a huge opportunity for them to show-case their God given talents to the world.
I have been informed that International communities will be watching this competition. It will be my delight to see some plays picked up from this competition to further represent the State and Nation in para sports, that can be achieved by your efforts here.
He charged them to play their hearts out.
He used the medium to thank and appreciate the Wife of the Governor for seeing a special ability in persons seen as disabled or special in the society.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Women Affairs , Mrs. Rose Nna praised the Wife of the Governor for always being friendly with person’s with disabilities.
She informed us that prior to her assumption of office, she had heard resounding echos of Mrs. Ikpeazu’s compassionate heart towards these people and prayed God to bless and guide her.
Responding, The National Coordinator, Para Badminton Federation of Nigeria
Ekeoma Samuel thanked the Wife of the Governor for championing the course of person’s with disabilities.
He further outlined how the Wife of the Governor’s involvement into Para has earned the sporting activity a national recognition adding that the Sports has been enlisted amongst sporting activities in Nigeria.
He also said that Mrs Ikpeazu has made them understand that there is ability in disability and prayed God to keep upholding her with his hands.
“Ma, your huge support towards us has encouraged us to put in our best and today, we have produced International Champions from the sporting activity”
“Ma, I wish to also thank you for providing a car to us which enabled mobility especially for rehearsals, interstate competition, he concluded”.
N:B The Wife of the Governor has been sponsoring the disabled Athletes to several sporting events throughout the country.
She is also a major sponsor of Abia Angels Female premier League Club, Chess and Cycling.