Abia olympic- bound paraweight lifters has commended Abia State Governor, Dr. Alex Otti’s strong support for sports even as the governor continues to inspire hope and confidence among Nigerian athletes with his innovative effort towards the development of sports in the country.
Barely two weeks after he warmly received a contingent of Abia players in the nation’s female football team, Super Falcons, to the World Cup in Australia, Governor Otti on Tuesday played host to a group of female Para-Power Lifters, who are headed to the Olympics next year. They have just qualified from the Dubai Championship.
Governor Otti, who was joined by his wife, Priscilla, to welcome the athletes at home in Nvosi, Isialangwa South, extolled the resilience and strong will of the young ladies to excell, notwithstanding their physical challenges.
“I’m very proud of our sons and daughters, who have continued to represent us very well in the international arena of sports.
“Today, we have two of our own, who have excelled in the area of para-power lifting. We’re very proud of you. You have shown that though you are physically living with some disabilities, it does not mean that you are challenged. You have shown that in spite of all the difficulties, you can rise above that location and rise to the occasion and do very well.
“So, you’re an encouragement to those who do not have some limitations. The message to everyone is that you need to rise above the limitations that nature may have placed on you and excell.
“I’m happy to celebrate all of you and thank you for doing us proud and you can be sure that we’ll continue to support you. My prayer is that by next year, when you go ro represent the country in the Olympic that you’ll come back with gold medals,” the Governor said.
Responding, one of the athletes, Ogechika Esther Nwogu, thanked Governor Otti for receiving them, describing him as a breathe of fresh air.
“We have been travelling for some years now. Sometimes when there is no fund from the Federal (government), we miss our competitions. When he was voted in as Father of Abia State, we breathed new air.
“We thank you so much. Words cannot express how we feel inside. You have done us well, we are proud of you. My colleague, Onyinyechi Gift Mark, and I are promising you and pledging that by God’s grace both of us will keep breaking records. All we need is your continued support,” Nwogu told the Governor.
The athletes, who came with a team from the state’s sports council, were presented with gifts by the First Lady, Mrs. Otti.
Also, at the reception were members of the State Executive Council, including the Deputy Governor, Engr Ikechukwu Emetu.
Picture: Gov Otti and wife, Priscilla (standing left); Deputy Gov Emetu (in hat) and Commissioner for Sports, Nwaobilor Ananaba (right) with the Para-Power Lifters and officers of the sports council.