Niger Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Mr Emmanuel Umar, has promised to offset the medical bills of a physically challenged female athlete who represented the state in the just concluded 2020 National Sports Festival (NSF) in Edo.
Umar made this known on Monday during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Minna.
“We have to do everything possible to encourage our youth to develop their talents. As you can see Miss Victoria Joseph is deaf and dumb but she is not deterred by her condition but determined to excel in life.
“She was scheduled to undergo goitre surgery on her neck at the General Hospital in Minna before we went to the NSF in Edo.
“Against all odds this young lady suspended the surgery and went ahead to represent us. Therefore, I don’t think it is a bad idea to pay for her medical bills,” he said.
Umar said that such an athlete needed every support and encouragement to help make her a successful person in the society.
“Tomorrow she may be a national asset that will represent Niger state and the country, so there is the need to encourage her to develop her full potential,” he said.
Reacting, Joseph, who represented the state in 400 metres and 800 metres race (athletics) and finished fourth position was full of praises for the commissioner.
“I don’t have anything to give our commissioner than to always pray that God should protect and bless him.
“My God will continue to protect Umar and his family,” Joseph, who spoke through an interpreter, said.
The athlete said that after the surgery, she hoped to be in Asaba, Delta state for the forthcoming 21st edition of the 2022 NSF.
The 24-year-old Joseph who was born in Shiroro area of the state hails from Enugu State.
She said that she lost her mother at a tender age and her father had since relocated to Enugu.