Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu has heaped praises on the newly crowned “Award of Leadership” of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) for the 2023 International Women’s Day Recognition Awards, Patience Igbiti.
Patience Igbiti alongside three others – Vladyslava Kravchenko from Malta (Emerging Leadership), Malawi National Paralympic Committee (National Paralympic Committee) and World Para Ice Hockey (International Federation) – each received the 2023 International Women’s Day Award – for their outstanding stand and causes by the Paralympic Committee (IPC) for the 2023 International Women’s Day.
Patience, the Chief Coach of the Para-Powerlifting team of Edo, was rewarded for her sustained and consistent leadership over the years.
Patience’s award can also be attributed to her push for women’s inclusion in the Para-Powerlifting sport in Africa and internationally for over thirty years, a keen supporter of gender equity and has helped increase female representation in the sport in several ways.
Reacting to the feat, Comrade Shaibu during his 2023 first quarter appraisal, noted that Pat has done massively well and her feat must be celebrated by all Nigerians.
According to Shaibu, Patience has demonstrated the right spirit expected of every Edo son and daughter in pushing for the best and setting the template of what to follow for other states in the country.
“I congratulate the daughter of Edo State, Patience Igbiti for her recognition by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) as the winner of the 2023 IPC 2023 International Women’s Day Recognition Awards in the Leadership category.”
“This is a development that gladdens my heart as a sports personality and as your state’s Deputy Governor”.
The Awards, which the IPC has been running since 2013, primarily recognise women in the Paralympic Movement who inspire and emulate the Paralympic ideals and serve as positive role models were chosen by members of the IPC Governing Board following nominations from across the Paralympic membership.
“Your unmatched leadership skills which have transformed your sports association in the state have earned you this recognition and award. This is a good message to the world that there is ability in disability.”
“As an Edo athlete turned coach, it’s a thing of joy for me to know that our vision is taking shape and our desire is yielding positive results. Your achievement is a laudable one that will make the entire Edolites rejoice and mention your name everywhere they go”.
Coach Pat who started her career in 1990, became Nigeria’s first female champion in Para- Powerlifting, a multi-Paralympic medallist and a six-time world record holder.
On retirement, she became the first female coach in Nigeria’s history and one of the first in Para Powerlifting.
Under Igbiti’s leadership, Nigeria’s women have dominated Para Powerlifting, winning 10 gold medals at her first Paralympic Games as a coach at the London 2012, and 17 out of 60 medals at Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020. Nigerian women currently hold four of the 10 Paralympic records, which is more than any other country.
As a coach, Igbiti has been a keen supporter of gender equity and has helped increase female representation in the sport in several ways. She has been a mentor to women from different countries, regions, and has been a leading advocate of World Para Powerlifting’s “She Can Lift” programme. In addition, she has blazed a trail as a technical official and administrator, while creating opportunities for women in her state and country by organising training camps and competitions.