EDO – Deaf Sports athletes on Monday in Benin protested their non-inclusion in the forthcoming National Sports Festival (NSF) slated for Delta by the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sport Development.
The protesters who were led by Coach Sunny Aimufua to the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) complex, faulted the Ministry’s decision to make deaf sport optional as against the permanent status it enjoyed before now.
“We are here to protest the exclusion of the deaf sports from the forthcoming National Sports Festival (NSF) in Delta in November. It is also unfortunate that the sport has been made optional, which should not be so. You can’t be talking of development when you make a sport optional,” Coach Aimufua said.
“Also, we have three major sports committees in the world. First is the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee, and the Committee of Deaf Sports. Now the Ministry has favored the two others while we are being neglected.
“They said a sport becomes optional when there are no facilities for that sport. We must know that Deaf athletics cannot be optional because we have tracks in most stadiums in Nigeria by able-bodied sportsmen and para-athlete athletes, so why won’t there be a place for deaf athletics?
He accused the Sports Ministry of playing politics with deaf sports.
“The Ministry should stop playing politics with the deaf sport athletes who are different kinds of persons and they need to be encouraged. They have been training and some of them are employed by the state governments.
“One of our athletes in Edo State, Assurance Omoria, is the African champion in deaf long jump.