Frontline promoter of Para Sports in Nigeria and former chairman of the Lagos chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Mr Fred Edoreh has called on medalists at the just concluded Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games to exercise patience in the expectation of reward promised them.
Edoreh who was in Tokyo for the Paralympic Games spoke in reaction to statements by some athletes in which they expressed apprehension on the fulfilment of the promise.
“I will advise the athletes to just exercise some patience. The Honourable Minister of Sports, Sunday Dare, is hugely committed to the welfare of our para athletes and it is not imaginable for him to disregard them nor discriminate against them nor renege on the promise of government. They all will remember how the Minister used his initiative to proactively provide for the welfare of the athletes during the Covid 19 lockdown in 2020 without anybody prompting.
“I am aware that while in Tokyo the Chef de Mission met with the athletes and assured them that they will be rewarded with same amount of money as was promised and given to their able bodied counterparts.
“The government meant well by not sending the money to them in Tokyo because the Japanese government would have insisted on their receiving it in Yen and then they would convert back to dollars before exchanging to Naira. All that would have reduced the value for them.
“Besides, the ministry would normally wait for the games to end to be able to ascertain the number of medalists and how much requisition to make for the reward.
“Again, they have just returned from the Games. The last batch came in on September 9 and the athletes as well as officials are observing the mandatory seven days self isolation in line with the Covid countermeasure protocols. That suggests that some of the relevant officials may not even have resumed at the office. Even the athletes cannot be called out to any gathering now until they have completed the period of isolation.
“I have implicit faith that the Minister is working hard to secure the release of the money meant for the reward.
“I can understand that the athletes need the reward to meet their needs having been away from their businesses for several months now but I advise for little patience, restraint and circumspection. I believe in the next few weeks all will be addressed.”
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