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Paralympian reflects on the impact of sport for young people with disabilities in Nigeria


Paralympian reflects on the impact of sport for young people with disabilities in Nigeria

The successful performance of the Great Britain Wheelchair Basketball Team has motivated not just young people in the UK, but overseas as well, as player Ade Orogbemi shares his experiences of seeing young Nigerians with disabilities discover their potential through sport.

Ade, who is originally from Nigeria, moved to the UK as a young boy and has grown to become one the UK’s most experienced players, playing for top teams in the UK and overseas and holds medals from the 2008 Olympic Games to the 2011 European Championships. He believes that as someone with a disability who grew up in Nigeria, opportunities are hard to find. "I know how hard it is to actually live a life, never mind get into sports," he says.  

Discovering your potential through sport
He delivered wheelchair basketball clinics during his visit to five schools in Nigeria, including one school for deaf learners. He believes that through sport, these vulnerable children have the opportunity to live a life they never knew was possible.

“Without sport there would be a lot of people who would not have a chance to take part in social activities. Their participation will hopefully inspire the next generation of disabled and able-bodied children in the African continent. These children can now take part in sport that they didn’t even know exist,” he said.

Inspired by sport
As he spoke to learners about his own career as a Paralympian, Ade hopes these children see the positive impact sport can have, as he reflects on the negative attitudes some of the children held:

“The biggest impact of my trip was when I went to the deaf school in the city. Kids here had the mentality that there was nothing for them and would end up on the streets begging. They would tell me that there was no point going to school because as soon as they reached a certain age, their parents would ask them to beg on the streets.”

The potential for sport to change lives
The Beijing bronze medalist believes that if children were exposed to sport in schools and in thier community, they would be able to focus on achieving not just in the field of sport, but in other areas too.

“The potential for these kids is huge and they can gain a lot from sport, it gives them something to focus their energies on, something to look forward to in life and give them something to aim for,” he said.

Ade will continue to help share his experiences as a wheelchair basketball player, as he hopes to visit more African countries and inspire new generations of Paralympic athletes. “I am fortunate to have the opportunities I have been given and want to pass these on,” he says.

Alongside visiting projects, Ade also made equipment donations, which included wheelchairs.


Article type



Mel Paramasivan


Sunday, September 16, 2012 - 23:00