From Chika Ojiegbe.UMUAHIA.
The 3rd edition of the Nkechi Ikpeazu National Open Parabadminton Championships has ended in Umuahia with a call on sports philanthropists and corporate sponsors not to allow the the current economic situation dampen their support for the development of sports in the country.
Speaking at the Umuahia Township stadium venue of the three-day sports event, the sponsor Mrs. Nkechi Ikpeazu who is also the wife of Abia State Governor said Para-badminton is a new sport in the Olympics adding that she is promoting it so that the country can win international recognition through it as well as medal hauls at the Olympics.
Hear her: “The current national economic state is seriously affecting sports development in Nigeria. We pray it will end soon so that our sporting community will once again thrive.
Nevertheless I urge conglomerate and sports philanthropists to see this period as a challenge and do their best to keep our games alive.
Apart from this event I often sponsor our disabled athletes to several sports events all over the country. I am also a major sponsor of Abia Angels Female premier League Club. Sports is in my blood and I love it.”
Commissioner for sports Abia State, Chief Chinwe Nwanganga said the event in Umuahia goes to buttress the fact that Abia is a major hub for sports development pointing out that the state parades several champions in track, field and indoor sports while also boasting of being the only state with three premier League clubsides, Enyimba FC, Abia Warriors and Abia Angels FC.
Also speaking the National Coordinator of the Parabadminton Association of Nigeria, Mr Samuel Ekeoma said the competition has afforded the athletes the opportunity of staying fit while evaluating their performance against other athletes. Mr. Ekeoma emphasized the need for more support to be given to Parabadminton and other disabled sports pointing out that Mrs. Ikpeazu has so far given the development of the game a desired push. He used the opportunity to challenge corporate bodies, individuals and state governments to emulate Mrs. Ikpeazu and support the growth of the games. He further revealed that para sports has remained the leading source of International laurels and recognition for Nigeria given the consistency of athletes in the various track, field and indoor events and called on the federal government and the Nigeria Olympic Committee to give more attention to the games.
The Nkechi Ikpeazu National Open Parabadminton championship held at the indoor sports hall of Umuahia Township stadium. ‘Athletes from eleven states of the country converged in Umuahia for the three-day sports competition. Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Plateau,Kano, Kaduna, Imo, Delta, Edo, Kwara and host Abia. Reigning champion of Mens sitting category Dada Dixon from Delta state won the star match and took home a gold medal and cash prize courtesy of the sponsor. A total of 26 winners in various categories of Gold, silver and bronze got medals with cash prizes while every athlete that participated in the competition received cash gifts all courtesy of Mrs. Nkechi Ikpeazu. With the sponsorship of this competition, her backing of female premier league side Abia Angels Football club, and sponsorship of the state female public servants sports competition Nkechi Ikpeazu is gradually etching her name as a sports philanthropist of national repute.