The Maiden edition of the National Para-Sports Games kicked off yesterday at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.
The event which is scheduled to hold from April 9 to 15, has athletes drawn from twenty one (21) States of the Federation and participating in 15 different sports.
The Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Sunday Dare, while declaring the event open assured that the games will be held annually to create the needed platform for para sports athletes to explore themselves as well as receive the desired attention.
According to him, the timely event was birthed as a result of the heroic performance of the Nation’s Para Athletes who have been making the country proud inspite of limited opportunities accorded them at regional and international competitions.
The Para games is being introduced to provide the levelled playing ground for the Athletes to exhibit their talents, explore and excel in their chosen sports, as well as lay the foundation of their career in sports, the Minister said
He noted that if the initiative is embraced and explored, it will aid in reducing joblessness among youth living with Disability, thus reducing begging on the streets.
Dare stated further that the Games is part of the Ministry’s plan to align itself with the vision of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Administration in the enactment of the Disability Act to ensure the integration of People Living With Disabilities (PLWD) into the society, because there is ability in disability.
He added, “Under President Muhammadu Buhari, Sports Development has attained a new height and secured a seat at the table when it comes to allocation of resources as an area of business and equal opportunity platform.”
The Minister who urged sports lovers to come out enmasse and cheer the athletes, commended the 21 State Governors for providing the opportunity for their athletes to participate and expressed hope that records will be broken at the event, to enable the graduation of new talents into the National team in preparation for the Commonwealth Games.
Speaking earlier, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar stated that the games is a multi-sports event for athletes with a range of disabilities, and called on the participants and officials to ensure a hitch-free games by exhibiting the spirit of sportsmanship.
The Permanent Secretary who commended the efforts of National Lottery Trust Fund, King Kanu Sports Wear and Life style towards the actualization of the para sports games called on Nigerian philanthropists and relevant stakeholders to join hands with the Federal Government so as to ensure the development of sports for socio-economic growth of the country.
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