Poverty Forced Me Out Of School, Paralympian Laments


Fate, they say has a different twist for different people. Such was the case of Chituru Nwoaozuzu, a disable athlete who was part of Team Nigeria’s contingent to the just concluded London 2012 Paralympic Games.

In an interview with P.M. News yesterday at the National Institute for Sports, NIS, in Surulere, Lagos, the Imo State-born athlete revealed that it was her inability to pay for the General Certificate of Examination, GCE, in year 2000 that forced her out of school. It was the frustration of dropping out of school, that eventually led her into disabled sports.

“I started disabled sports in year 2000 after my family could not raise the money needed to pay for my GCE exams. But, I am glad that I am not regretting my decision today. I can recall how my brothers wanted to stop me from going into sports in 2003,” she said on her way to Abuja for tomorrow’s Presidential reception for the Paralympians. (Read Chituru’s full interview on pg. 15).

An Abuja-based group, Conscience Nigeria, has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to confer national honours on the Nigerian paralympians who won medals for the country at the just concluded London Paralympic Games.

The Executive Director of the group, Tosin Adeyanju, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja yesterday that such honours will help to revive the spirit of dedication and commitment among sports men and women as well as inspire others to do well in future competitions.

He said: “if merit and patriotic national service is considered as the yardstick for giving national honour, the paralympians should be celebrated and their efforts rewarded with befitting honours.”

He said that the medalists deserved befitting honours and adequate compensation.

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“They have shown the resilient Nigerian spirit by winning 13 medals, which include six gold, and they made us proud as a nation.

“This is the time for the country to justify excellence and patriotic service with good rewards,” Adeyanju said.

He appealed to the president to use the opportunity to revive the sports sector with reward for good service and excellence.

The director expressed confidence that the honour would go a long way to changing the perception of the youths about Nigeria.

“The gesture will stimulate many youths to work harder to salvage the nation and take its rightful position in the comity of progressive nations”, he said.

—Bamidele Olowosagba

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