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Speaker of Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Victor Ochei, has said that his compassion for the physically challenged in the society inspired his involvement in wheelchair basketball.

Speaking ahead of the 3rd edition of the competition named after him, the Victor Ochei Wheelchair Basketball tournament which dunks off tomorrow in Lagos, the Delta assembly speaker said the need to harness the ability of those with disability was necessary instead of just allowing them to wallow in self pity.

''I've compassion for the less privileged in our society. Beyond seeing them from the ambit of pity, they have hidden talents that people need to see and appreciate. I admire strength in their character. Like they say, there is ability in disability. These are special people who by no reason of theirs are physically challenged. We need to lend a helping hand and bring out the best in them,” observed Ochei in Lagos at the weekend.

He recalled how it was the special sports athletes that salvaged the country’s image at the London 2012 Olympiad after the able-bodied failed to win any medal.

“If you remember the last Olympics in London, if not for the spectacular performance of these Paralympians (Physically challenged), Nigeria would not have gotten any medal. What the able-bodied men and women could not achieve, our heroes and heroines were those who are challenged. They beat their opponents from most advanced countries. It was such an amazing experience for us,” he noted.

Ochei is excited that the wheelchair basketball championship which started in Asaba has grown to attract participants from other African countries like the Republic of Benin, Ghana and Togo.

He pledged that with the involvement of other sponsors in the yearly event, the competition would continue to be an avenue for the physically challenged to realize their potentials.

The speaker cited the case of a young lad who through auto accident lost an arm and was contemplating suicide but had a change of mind after watching other physically challenged athletes play basketball

“The young man who lost his arm could not bear to see himself as a disabled person. He contemplated suicide. But when he came and watched others with even worse situation playing basketball, he had a change of heart. His life started transforming and today he is player,” he revealed.

“I want to assure you that the competition will continue to exist long after I have left office. I'm happy that my friends from corporate organisations have joined me in the sponsorship of the competition. Together, we can make Nigeria a better place,'' stressed the youthful politician.

The third edition of Rt. Hon. Victor Ochei Wheelchair Basketball Championship dunks off tomorrow at the Indoor Hall of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos.

SOURCE: This Day Live



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