2016 Paralympic champion, Lauritta onye has opened up on her ordeal on the road to her qualification for the 2020 Summer Paralympics games in Tokyo, following her third-place finish in the F40 women’s shot put event of the 2019 Para-athletics championship a feat she achieved without official camping, implements and trainer.
“It was very difficult, I had a bad experience at the Dubai 2019 Para-Athletics championship, it was like I went to represent myself and not my country (Nigeria).
My coach could not accompany me due to Paucity of Funds according to the Federation, so I had to do everything myself, running around getting registered, implements etc, no time to train or rest in preparation for my meet.”
Despite the horrific conditions, Lauritta made her first podium appearance at the world championship something she credits
to God and self motivation to make her second appearance at the Paralympics
“As a sport women it’s hard, it’s not by my power its been God’s grace, before my finals at the championship, I just confessed to God and begged for him to show me mercy.”
She revealed the neglect she has faced since she started representating Nigeria as a para-athlete and how it runs deep in
the Para Athletics federation of Nigeria “World championship is equivalent to the Olympics but we took the preparation for
granted, we did not camp even for a day and almost missed the whole competition as we registered late.
With our performance despite the poor preparations we did not receive any welcome or recognition when we landed in Nigeria, nobody noticed what we had done it was like we never went for any competition, in Nigeria we dont appreciate other sports… “
Ahead of the Paralympics, she called for better treatment of para athletes in Nigeria “Let them show us love, if it were
footballers who returned to the country from a competition they will shower them with gifts and money, we are human as
well and deserve to be appreciated.”