Poverty Forced Me To Sports


Chituru Nwoaozuzu, 32, was part of Team Nigeria’s contingent to the just concluded London 2012 Paralympic Games as a discuss thrower. In this interview with Bamidele Olowosagba, the Imo State-born disabled athlete talks on her past experiences and achievements, her dashed dream to win a medal at the Olympics, and how poverty forced her out of school.

How would you describe your first Paralympic Games experience?

Though I was unable to meet my medal target at the Games but in terms of experience, it was a good outing for me.

What would say was responsible for your medal-less outing in London despite your high rating before the Games?

Well, without trying to give excuse, the weather in London really affected my performance. This is because at the qualifiers we had in Dubai in June, I recorded above 37 meter throw. But in London, I could only muster enough strength to throw a distance of 33 meter to finish in 5th position. It was not because I did not train enough but it was the weather in London that affected my performance because that was my first time of being in Europe.

At the last All Africa Games, AAG, in Maputo, Mozambique, you represented Nigeria in the Powerlifting event, but in London you competed in Discuss. Why the sudden change of sports?

My decision to switch from the powerlifting event to Discuss was because of the monetary clash I had with my fiormer Nigerian coach when I came back from the African Games last year. It was a hard decision for me to make because powerlifting was a sport I love so much.It was an experience I would not want to talk about again becauese I have moved on.

Talking about your love for sports. How did you get involve in sports?

It was right from my secondary school days that I have been doing sport related activities but I never knew I would involved in it as a profession. But it was when I could not pay for my General Certificate Examination, GCE, after secondary school in year 2000 that I decided to concentrate in sports fully. In 2003, my parents and my brother wanted to stop me but I told them my love for sports is more than anything else.

Related News

What is your take on Team Nigeria’s 22nd position finish in London?

It was a fair result from our (athletes) perspective because we really wanted more gold medals at the Games, but with the responses we have been getting  from Nigerians, we are happy we did not disappointed our country.

Do you think we would have performed better in terms of medal winning?

Definately we would have performed better than the 22nd position we finished on the medals table if some of our gold medal hopefuls in athletics and other events had performed to their pre championship rating. Like myself, I was rated very high before the games because of my performance at the qualifier in Dubai. But I finished 5th in discuss throw, which would have earned me at least a bronze medal if  not for the fact that the 57 and 58 class was jammed at the games. Another reason we would won more medals was because some of athletes that were medals hopefuls were dropped despite the fact that they qualified for the Games.

How would you describe the reception accorded you so far since since you came back from the Games?

Well, it was nothing compared to what we were promised but we are still hopefully that when we get to Abuja to meet presiden Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday we would be well received. Like they say, better late than never!

What is your next target now that you have participated at the Paralympics even though you did not win a medal?

My next target now is to continue keeping myself fit for a place in the team for Internationa Paralympic Championship holding in France next year, the 2014 Commonwealth Games and the All Africa Games in 2015.

Load more