Different Parasport Federations on Friday 15th July, 2022 in Abuja conducted election to elect their executives that will pilot the affairs of different parasports in Nigeria. Recently, The Qualitative Magazine(TQM) ran into the newly elected president of Nigerian Sitting Volleyball Federation, Mr. Olukayode Ladele and he spoke on his plans to move Sitting Volleyball Federation forward. Below is his chat with TQM correspondent.
Can we meet you?
My name is Mr Olukayode Ladele newly elected “President of the Nigerian Sitting Volleyball Federation
How do you feel being elected as the President of Nigerian Sitting Volleyball Federation?
It’s actually a mixed feeling. Because I’ve been supporting the growth of volleyball for over a decade now and being put in a position to do more gives me great joy.
Have you worked with para athletes before?
Yes, I have for quite few years, about five (5) years now
As someone who have around for while working with these athletes, as a sports philanthropist, what do you think has been the challenges facing Sitting Volleyball in Nigeria?
The challenges facing the sitting volleyball are:
1. Awareness: Though the sport had been introduced for quite sometimes now in Nigeria but not everyone knows it really exist. The percentage of even sports personnel or journalist that knows about the sport is very low.
2. Finance: Just because the awareness is poor, it is hard to market it to corporate organisations for sponsorship and even the government who have little or low budget for the games.
3. Lack of competition: Due to the above reasons, it has actually affected the sport in having ready athletes that would participate in the game and also in a competition involving sitting volleyball.
What will you be doing differently to address these challenges?
What I will be doing differently to address these challenges with the support of the rest of the board members:
1. Creating more awareness for the sport to enable its visibility and inclusion of new athletes.
2. Providing funds either personally, or corporate and also by appealing to government to encourage more participation in the game and increase budgetary allocation for the game.
3. Organise competitions locally and nationwide.
What do you intend to achieve at the end of your tenure (what legacy are you going to leave behind)?
At the end of our tenure, we would have been able to leave a great legacy behind.
Which should be in regards on how many lives have been touched positively, how many athletes with disabilities who have been able to represent Nigeria in paravolley games and win medals, and also changing the status of any form of disability by giving them recognition, hope and a career.
What is your message to para athletes in Sitting Volleyball and those who will be interested?
There is hope!
Any parting words
Sitting Volleyball is like every other sport and there should be no disparity of any kind. People with disabilities can have space in the same social environment and otherwise and should not resolve to playing a victim of any circumstances. There’s always hope
Thank you very much