Posted by News Express | 20 August 2015 | 3,147 times
A former Edo State Commissioner for Sports, Brown Ebewele has accused the Special Sports Federation of Nigeria of bias in the classification of the visually impaired.
Ebewele told newsmen in Benin on Tuesday that as a result of the bias in the exercise, many athletes with medal-winning prospects were denied the opportunity of being invited to camp, ahead of the 11th All Africa Games.
The Games are scheduled to hold at Congo Brazzaville, from September 4 to 19.
Ebewele, then, urged the director-general of National Sports Commission (NSC) to intervene to see that a transparent process was used in the selection of athletes for the Games.
He wondered why the likes of Deborah Adewale, Lucky Egbon, Andrew Lucky and Friday Agbangbee were dropped from the camp.
“Special sports are vital as far as Nigeria’s quest for glory in the AAG is concerned. These categories of athletes – the visually impaired -- don’t go through a classification. That is how they compete.
“If they don’t go through screening or classification in AAG, why are you now using it to knockout our athletes, who are capable of winning six or seven gold medals?”
In reaction to the allegation, Frank Thorpe, medical doctor and President of the Special Sports Federation, claimed that the classification that his federation carried out was in order as there was no sinister motive behind it.
He added had special interest in some athletes that were being taking to AAG.
Thorpe said the fact a special athlete had one bad eye did not mean that such athlete would be eligible to compete in that category.
He described those peddling falsehood that he deliberately carried out the classification in order to favour certain athletes as laughable, stressing that those behind it needed to be abreast of the latest rules in the sport.
“What people don’t understand is that rules governing this sport keep changing. We must be in tune with these rules to avoid `the hammer’ of the regulators.
“I am a patriotic Nigerian who wants the best for the country. I am also a qualified medical doctor, so why would I bend the rules for selfish motive.
“The athletes we will be taking to AAG are the best the country has to offer and those that can win medals for us. I want to succeed and therefore will not compromise on standards.
“Lucky Egbon has one bad eye and he can see with the other and as such, is not eligible. Others so mentioned have also been found wanting in other areas.” (NAN)
•Photo shows Special Sports Athletes
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