Ruel Ishaku, President, Nigeria Para-Powerlifting Federation (NPPF) on Thursday urged athletes across the country to sustain keeping fit while observing the lockdown following COVID-19 pandemic.
Ishaku told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown have denied athletes opportunity of having common training supervised by their coaching coaches in their respective stations.
He said that some powerlifters had qualified for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games which had been rescheduled for 2021 but needs to continue training in preparations for the Games.
“While we are encouraging our athletes in their stations to comply with the stay-at-home order and other preventive measures against spread of Coronavirus pandemic, it is also important to keep fit.
“Regular training is fundamental for powerlifters but those that have qualified for the Paralympic Games next year should live up to expectations in their individual build-up.
“Regular programmes such as sit-up and free exercises will keep them on track and burn fat because adding weight is not good for them, as it will affects their performance, ” he said.
The Paralympian tasked the Paralympic bound-athletes to make the best use of the lockdown, adding that their fellows in foreign countries had personal gymnasium which aid their continued preparations for the 2021 Games.
According to him, the last stage of qualifies for the Paralympic Games billed from April 13 to April 17 in Colombia was cancelled due to the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s unfortunate that the lockdown has affected the use of the standard power gymnasium in National Stadium, Lagos, as it is no longer accessible by large number of Paralympic-bound lifters.
“They should not relent and allow the situation to discourage them, but make extra effort, get in touch with the national coach for necessary assistance to be in form,” he added.
The NPPF president said that the 14 Tokyo Paralympics-bound lifters would have taken advantage of the competition to gather more points to boost their ranking towards the Games.
He gave names of the male lifters as Ibrahim Abdulaziz; Dauda Ibrahim; Kehinde Paul; Innocent Nnamdi; Roland Ezuruike and Yakubu Adesokan.
The females are: Bose Omolayo; Precious Orji; Latifat Tijani; Oluwafemiayo Folasade; Pauline Okpala; Mujinat Ibrahim, lovelyn Obiji and Lucy Ejike.