Friday, 30 September 2016

Three Countries Chase Paralympics Coach

The superlative performance of
Team Nigeria at the Rio
Paralympics is already having
‘effect’ on the country as
power-lifting coach Are
is being sought after
by three countries ahead of the
2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
Are is one of the coaches that
led Nigeria to finish the
competition with a total of 12
medals as Team Nigeria won
eight gold, two silver and two
bronze medals to finish in 12th
place overall. Speaking in an
exclusive interview with New
Telegraph in Lagos on
Thursday, the Osun State born
coach revealed that he was yet
to make up his mind on the
“I had three countries at the
2015 All African Games that
wanted me to train their
athletes. These countries were
very serious and not giving up
on me but I told them my
ultimate was to lead Nigeria to
victory at the Rio Paralympics.
“Even in Brazil, the Singapore
team approached me but
because I wouldn’t want to
leave Nigeria and start training
them at the tournament after
investing so much in my team.
“Right now, Singapore, Congo
and Mali are still interested but
my love for Nigeria has been
my staying power and I can say
what might happen next,” he
Nigeria competed powerlifting,
athletics and table tennis with
23 athletes and as expected, the
team claimed most of their gold
medals in powerlifting. Nigeria
picked six gold medals in the
event and a t h l e t i c s
provided two.
Six o f the athletes broke the
world records in their events –
in some cases they did it twice
or thrice and won gold but Are
is unhappy that the country is
not investing much in coaching.
“After the All African Games,
the then Director General of the
Sports Ministry and the defunct
National Sports Commission,
Alhassan Yakmut promised to
give me an employment but I
should go for a coaching
“With the support of Yakmut
and the Secretary of Nigeria
Para-Powerlifting Federation,
Dapo Akinyele, I completed the
course but the transfer of
Yakmut stalled the process and
this is making me sad anytime I
remember all my effort for my
country,” he added.
New Telegraph also scooped
that top countries had set
machineries to poach most of
the athletes that represented the
country at the Rio Games in
order to include them in their
plans for the 2020 Tokyo
Paralympic Games. At the last
Paralympics in London four
years ago, they returned with
13 medals which consist of six
gold, five silver and two bronze
medals finishing 22nd on the
medals table.