Wheelchair basketball teams promise to win Rio 2016 ticket for Victor Ochei
To face Egypt, South Africa, others in Algeria
Players and officials of Nigerian wheelchair basketball teams have vowed to win the Rio 2016 Olympics tickets in appreciation to former Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly, Victor Ochei, for his singular effort in uplifting the game in Nigeria.
For the past five years, the ex-Delta State Speaker has solely funded the Victor Ochei International Wheelchair Basketball Championship, producing many stars for the country.
Now, the nation stands to reap from the championship, as both the male and female Nigerian wheelchair basketball teams prepare for the Rio 2016 Olympics qualifiers in Algeria next month, and the athletes and their officials say Ochei’s efforts would be rewarded.
The Eight-Nation Wheelchair Basketball African qualifiers for both male and female will take place between October 28 to November 8 in Algeria.
Nigeria will face countries like Egypt, Mauritius, South Africa, Morocco and host Algeria for the sole African ticket in both categories.
Some of the players, who spoke with The Guardian yesterday after their morning training in Lagos, praised Ochei for his continuous love for special athletes, especially when he is no longer in government. “It is not common in Nigeria for people to continue sponsorship of a sporting event when they are no more in government. But Ochei has stuck to wheelchair basketball, which is commendable,” of the players said yesterday.
Ochei, whose project, the Victor Ochei International Wheelchair Basketball Championship is in its fourth edition, believes that with a concerted effort, the country would be among the teams competing for medals at Rio 2016 Olympics.
Also speaking with The Guardian yesterday, the President, Wheelchair Basketball Federation of Nigeria (WBFN), Bukola Olopade, said that Team Nigeria stands the chance of winning both tickets in Algeria, adding that what they need is support of all Nigerians.
Olapade, a former Commissioner for Sports in Ogun State, also revealed that Victor Ochei has pledged to continue to empower special sports athletes in the country, just as he assured that the two teams will do Nigerian proud in Algeria.