The International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports (IWAS) Junior Games will once again take place this year from 1st to 8th August 2014. The Games will be hosted at Stoke Mandeville Stadium in the UK, the birthplace of the Paralympic movement.
Entries from 350 athletes accompanied by 150 support staff, from 32 countries, have been received and they will compete in seven sports which include Archery, Athletics and Race Running, Powerlifting, Swimming, Table Tennis and Wheelchair Fencing while Para-Taekwondo will be included as an exhibition sport. Athletes between the ages of 14 and 22 will be competing at the Games, which will serve as an ample opportunity to participate in the upcoming Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
The IWAS games is important and through the Paralympic Committee of Nigeria and People With Disability Initiative, an Abuja based NGO, a Nigerian Paralympic contingent, supported by Sir Emeka Offor Foundation (SEOF) has been assembled to fly the Nigerian flag and take part in this all important generational cum epochal event. Nigeria’s David Ombugudu will be vying for Table Tennis gold while Emmanuel Godwin will participate in weightlifting.
“Disability is in the heart, to me disability is a function of mindset, I can do anthing with my life if I pick up the challenges. I have no legs but I can make something out of my life, I can even do better then someone that has leg” is how David feels.
Both athletes are under 23 Gold Medallists and polio survivors who are living testimonies that there is ability in disability.
The Nigerian contingent will be led by Rotary International Polio Ambassador in Nigeria and founder of Sir Emeka Offor Foundation, Sir Emeka Offor.
Sir Emeka has made polio eradication his number one priority from not only in Nigeria but from the remaining endemic countries.
To date, Sir Emeka has funded over US$3 million to Rotary International Polio Plus programme - the largest global public health programme. The world must remain committed in order to achieve a polio-free world. If we don't stay the course, experts say polio could rebound to 10 million cases in the next 40 years, and would negate the billions invested in the initiative.
SEOF will be launching a new program called “Differently Able”, during the IWAS Games. Differently Able will focus on assisting polio survivors in Nigeria. SEOF has provided financial support (2.6 million Naira) to the Nigerian Paralympic team to enable them to take at the 2014 IWAS Games.
Differently Able will assist those who have survived polio to fly higher socially, physically and professionally.
Sir Emeka while leading the Nigerian Paralympian to Stoke Mandeville wishes them a successful outing and in the spirit of the Games, charges all to be worthy ambassadors of the country by bringing home medals.