After the poor performance of Team Nigeria at the last 2012 Olympics Games in London, the country will have another opportunity to take part in the Deaflympic Games which will be officially declared open by the organizers on 26 Friday, 2013 in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Barely 48 hours to the Games, team Nigeria have arrived the city of Sofia with 56 athletes featuring in three sports such as Football, Table Tennis and Athletics.
Nigeria was place 37th position in the last last Deaflympic Games held in China Taipei in 2009 with two silvers.
As this year’s draw nearer, expectations are high as Team Nigeria are expected to surpass their previous performance in China Taipei.
Speaking before Team Nigeria’s departure, president of Nigeria Deaf Sports Federation NDSF, Alhaji Usman Nahuche assured that the contingent would return with not less than 10 medals.
“The contingent has undergone intensive training under the tutelage of Coach Olawaye Akinremi for complete one month, I can assure Nigerians without fear that the boys and girls in their respective events will win medals,” Nahuche said.
Director-General of the National Sports Commission (NSC) Gbenga Elegbeleye on behalf of the Chairman of the Commission and Minister of Sports Bolaji Abdullahi, lauded the NDSF president for his confidence and promised to support the team morally and financially in order to make the country proud in Bulgaria.
Elegbeleye implored the contingent to be good ambassadors of the country by obeying the rules of the games as well as the laws of the land throughout the two weeks event.
Head coach of Deaf Football Eagles, Kamiludeen Oladimeji Banjo expressed confidence in the ability of his team. He disclosed that the team have played many friendly matches which really helped him to select the players on merit and current performance.
He boasted that with the support given by National Sports Commission and well meaning Nigerians, his team are ready to give their best throughout the game.
“I am happy that the team are in high spirits and they are ready to do the country proud for the support we got from the Sports Ministry.I want to use this medium to thank Sports Ministry and sports loving Nigerians for their support given to the team during our training in Abuja,” he said.
Meanwhile, the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf ICSD have confirmed the sports that will feature in the Sofia 2013 Deaflympics, and they are Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Bowling, Cycling, Football, Handball, Judo, Karate, Orienteering, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Volleyball and Wrestling.
To qualify for the Deaflympics, athletes must have a hearing loss of at least 55 db in their “better ear”. Hearing aids, cochlear implants etc. are not allowed to be used, in order to place all athletes on the same level, as the communication between athletes and trainers or team-mates is prevented during the competition.
The use of sign language is allowed, as it can be used by everybody, provided they can see, and it constitutes the language of the community of the deaf people, which most athletes prefer.