Like the Olympics, the battles for laurels will kick start today at the delayed Tokyo 2020 Paralympics amid strict viral rules, banning almost all spectators and imposing strict restrictions on athletes and other participants.
After months of polls, domestic support increased during the Olympics, Japan is deeply concerned as the Paralympics experience the fifth wave of the virus.
The Games which will run from today, August 24 to Sunday 5, September 2021, comprises 589 events in 22 sports out of which Nigeria’s Paralympic team will be competing in the para athletics, para powerlifting, power rowing and para table tennis with 22 athletes.
The Nigeria’s contingent comprising many record-breaking athletes, such as Bose Omolayo who has won seven gold medals and two silver medals in the past six years; Folashade Oluwafemiayo who has nine gold medals and one silver medal to her credit; and Loveline Obiji who has won nine gold medals and three silver medals.
The captain of the team, Lucy Ejike, has won a total of 16 gold medals, three silver medals and one bronze medal in over 20 years of her career as a para-athlete.
Speaking ahead of the kicks off ceremony, Ibrahim Olaitan who is making her Paralympics at the Tokyo Games, said she remains undaunted in her quest to rule the world.
“I am excited to be part of the team, competing amongst wonderful and powerful teams. My focus is gold and I pray that God gives me the power to win it for my dear Country Nigeria. I promise to make my country proud,” Olaitan declared.
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics is Nigeria’s 8th consecutive appearance since her maiden appearance at Barcelona 1992.
Nigeria’s team had their most successful outing at Rio 2016, finishing as Africa’s best team and 17th overall in the world on the medals table with eight gold, two silver and two bronze medals.