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Inaugural African Para Games begins with Opening Ceremony attended by IPC President

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The African Para Games begun today with its Opening Ceremony attended by International Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons, second left, in Accra ©African Paralympic Committee.

The African Para Games Opening Ceremony went ahead without any representatives from Nigeria after the country’s team was forced to pull out of the event at the last minute.

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Ghana’s capital city of Accra set the stage for the curtain-raiser of the inaugural edition of the Games, scheduled to take place until September 12.

Athletes celebrated as they took to the Bukom Boxing Arena and engaged in song and dance at an event attended by International Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons.

The Ceremony was attended by Ghana’s Sports Minister Mustapha Ussif who addressed the crowd with his speech before the historic Games while African Paralympic Committee Samson Deen also delivered a talk.
But Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, who had been widely billed to attend, was notable by his absence.

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Following that, a “cultural showcase” performance was given by act Terry and Crew prior to a mascot display.
Nigeria was due to appear at the event but the country’s Government prevented it late on due to a lack of funds that it was willing to spend.
Nigeria was registered for athletics, wheelchair basketball, and wheelchair tennis but the withdrawal has left athletes angry.

“I am not happy some of my team-mates will not be attending the 2023 Africa Para Games in Ghana,” said wheelchair tennis player Fatima Yusuf.
“Nigeria has succeeded in wasting the time and resources of these players; most of us are not on the payroll of the sports commission/council.

“Our source of incoming majorly comes from attending National and International Championships.
“Foluke Shittu is currently the highest ranked [wheelchair tennis] player in Africa.

“This means she will not be able to qualify for the Paralympic Games in Paris next year despite dumping France for Nigeria.”
Cameroon’s amputee football team also withdrew at the last minute.

By Owen Lloyd

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