Nigeria’s paralympic table tennis champion, Koleosho Ahmed has said
he’s more than ready for the Rio games.
Ahmed is hopeful of winning a medal for the West African country after a not so impressive performance by Team Nigeria at the Olympics.
The 30 year-old is to compete in the men’s singles class 3.
Ahmed secured a place after winning gold at the African Para Championships in Morocco last year.
At the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation training centre in Lagos, where he trains everyday, he he is confident that the vigourous training will pay off.
“I believe with the hard training now and us being in camp and everything too. I think we have about sixty percent chance of winning a medal in the paralympics. Even though we have not really had much success in para team tennis Olympics, although, we have had a gold medal, in class nine standing and a bronze medal in class five sitting that was two, 1996 and 2000 and ever since then, we have not really had much luck,” said Koleosho.
The Paralympics team has been facing funding challenges as the country faces its worst economic crisis in decades.
“We have expected some things to happen before now but maybe due to the recession things couldn’t really happen in turn in time. We were expected to go for a tour, probably to go out to experience the new things there. Like the hall that we are playing now is not up to standard although we expected a renovation the tables, the floor, even our wheelchairs are old but we hope things might get better before the games proper,” Koleosho added.
Head coach of the Paralympics table tennis team says his players want to make history despite the challenges.
“All we need has been given to us. Our equipment, the feeding, the camp is okay, the hostel is okay, but we are pleading for more to the government for us to at least move to the training tour, at least to acclimatize, that would help and boost the morale of the athletes,” he said
Nigeria won 13 medals in the London 2012 Paralympics with the most winners coming from athletics and power lifting.