A para-table tennis player, Muritala Ibrahim, 42, has died at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, where he made home for many years.
Ibrahim, had represented Nigeria in several para-table tennis championships, including the Barcelona 1992 Paralympics, Atlanta 1996 Paralympics and Sydney 2000 Paralympics, winning silver medals in the three Games.
Security men at the stadium told News Agency of Nigeria on Monday that Ibrahim, was among people who had made the stadium their place of residence.
Ibrahim took ill on Sunday night and died shortly after.
The Lagos Liaison Officer of the National Sports Commission, Mrs. Tayo Oreweme, expressed shock over Ibrahim’s death and condoled with his relations.
Oreweme, however, told NAN that Ibrahim’s death could have been avoided if he had heeded to her advice that people should not sleep at the stadium premises.
The liaison officer said that physically-challenged athletes had been cautioned not to sleep in the stadium and appealed to them to desist.
“I have warned these people that it is wrong to come and sleep in the stadium because they are exposing themselves to a lot of dangers.
“They are putting their health to serious threat and the result is what has happened today. I am not happy at all,’’ Oreweme said.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Ms Ngozi Braide, has confirmed that Ibrahim died during his sleep.
Braide said that the police were investigating the cause of Ibrahim’s death.
Reacting to the death of the athlete, the coach of the Ogun State Para-Table Tennis Association, Yekini
Salau, told NAN that Ibrahim was a great man who lived an exemplary life.
He said that the death of the player shocked him as Ibrahim was a motivator to physically-challenged people in the country.
“It is a great loss. He was the one who motivated and developed a good number of us.
“And it was his ability to play the game very well that raised the morale of every other person,” Salau said.
The national table tennis coach, Rauf Bello, told NAN from Germany, where he is on a training tour preparatory to the London Olympic Games, that Ibrahim’s death was a “great shock’’ to him.