Physically challenged athletes in Enugu State have appealed to the state government for the provision of state-of-the-art equipment and monthly stipends as motivational tonic for them to excellent in their various sports.
Silver Ezeikpe, the South-East Paralympic Committee of Nigeria (PCN) representative, made the appeal while speaking to a reporter on Friday in Enugu.
Ezeikpe, who also represents the South-East in the Para-Athletic Federation of Nigeria (PAFN), said the appeal had become imperative as most of their sports equipment were obsolete. He added that even the available equipment were not enough for their training.
Ezeikpe listed some of the needed equipment to include Javelin, Shotput, Discuss and Weight among others.
Said Ezeikpe: “The equipment on ground were bought by me and some were improvised due to lack of funds for the purchase of the real equipment. We do not have all the weights in Shotput and our weight equipment do not give us good balance anymore.
“But my concern is that they are all outdated and needed replacement; so I am pleading with the government to come to our aid”.
Ezeikpe, who doubles as Chief coach of the Enugu Para-Athletics, said the athletes also needed financial assistance.
Said he: “We have good athletes in camp but they skip training due to difficulty in getting transportation fare as many of them come from their respective homes. I want to use this opportunity to plead with the government to consider motivating the athletes with monthly allowance.
“Such incentives will help discourage the athletes from either street begging or constituting nuisance in the society”.
The coach also called on philanthropists to assist the physically challenged athletes and their sports in the state, adding that the athletes needed first aid box which formed parts of their daily training apparatus.