Paralympic Committee Releases List Of Athletes To Represent Nigeria In Rio

Rio Paralympics, Nigeria,The Paralympic Committee of Nigeria has named 23 athletes and six coaches that would represent Team Nigeria at the Rio 2016 Paralympic games from September 7-18 in Brazil.

Nigeria will compete in only three sports where the Paralympic body says it has comparative advantage at the games.

These include athletics, power-lifting and table-tennis.

Six athletes made up of five females and one male would compete in athletic events while 14 athletes are to take part in power-lifting events.

Only three athletes will be representing the country in the Table Tennis games.

Some of the selected athletes are: Eucharia Iyiazi, Hannah Babalola, Lovina Onyegbule, Flora Ugwunwa, Lauritta Onye, and the only male athlete, Friday Aigbanbe, while Patrick Aieto and Adekunle Adesoji will be the coaches.

There are hopes that Team Nigeria will perform well as it did in the London 2012 games, where the team won won six gold, five silver and two bronze medals.

NBBF in a state of mourning over the death of D’Tigers Chinedu Onyeuku

The Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) released a statement yesterday expressing shock over the untimely death of a key member of the D’Tigers’ 2011 Madagascar Afrobasket bronze medallist team, Chinedu Onyeuku a shooting guard who died last weekend.

Touted as a great patriot, Nedu as he is widely known, cut short his family vacation for national call as he reported to the  national camp in Orlando where D’Tigers were to play against Team GB and Team Netherlands in the 3-nation tournament in London in the build-up to the 2011 Afrobasket.

He was a member of the team that qualified Nigeria for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Venezuela, from where D’Tigers won the qualification ticket to 2012 London Olympic Games.

He also returned to the team for the Zwolle basketball days invitational tournament in Holland in December, 2011 which was his last national team outing.

According to the statement from the NBBF signed by the NBBF Scribe Francis Gbiri stated that “Nedu’s passion for playing with D’Tigers was deep-seated and he will be greatly missed. The federation joins his family and team mates to mourn a departed son, father, husband and great patriot”.


Brazil sacks Mano Menezes as manager

Five-time world champions and 2014 soccer world cup host Brazil; on Friday dealt has given manager Mano Menezes the matching order, therefore ending the relationship between the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) and Menezes.

The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) national squad director Andres Sanches confirmed the news as he said he broke the news to Menezes himself saying, “Nobody likes to receive news of these kinds of things in any circumstances, but everyone in football knows that these things happen.

However, a new coach will be announced come January 2013 as a search has begun for Menezes replacement.

It would be recalled that 50 year old Menezes replaced former Brazilian player Dunga following the team’s elimination in the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup finals.

Menezes has not been able to shake away the under-performance plaguing the Selecao, following the team’s failure at the 2011 Copa America, where they lost in the last-eight to Paraguay, and at the Olympic Games in London this summer where they finished runners-up and ever since then his job has been on the line since Brazil’s humiliating 2-1 loss to underdogs Mexico at Wembley in August.

Menezes who was axed after a meeting with the CBF president Jose Maria Marin has garnered 20 wins in his time at the helm, six draws and five defeats talking record.

Media speculation has already linked former Selecao boss Luis Felipe Scolari with a return to the hot-seat after he guided Brazil to World Cup glory in 2002.

After the setback at the Olympics, Menezes appealed to Brazil’s football federation chiefs not to be panicked into sacking him.

Menezes said he believed that the Olympic loss could have been used to inspire Brazil to a sixth World Cup on home soil in 2014.

Menezes had previously coached Brazilian club side Gremio from 2005 until 2007, leading the team to the final of the Copa Libertadores where they were defeated by Boca Juniors.

He then took charge of Corinthians with whom he won the 2009 Brazilian Cup.

While Scolari remains the favourite to take over, some reports have linked Corinthians coach Tite and Santos boss Muricy Ramalho with the job.

I expect at least 36 medals in next Olympics – Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has raised the bar of performance in sports ahead of the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil as he charged Nigerian Athletes to bring home with 36 medals which must include at least five gold medals.

Also present at the retreat which took place on Monday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja was Vice President Namadi Sambo, the Senate President, David Mark, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal.

Others were members of the Federal Executive Council, sports administrators, security chiefs, captains of industries among others.

The president charged the state governors to look into areas of advantage so as to contribute one athlete in their own chosen advantageous area who will be amongst the Team Nigeria 2016 contingent.

Mr Jonathan said: “Every state has some level of comparative advantage in one form of sports or the order and if every state will promise Nigerians that we will give you a medal in this area and another medal in this area that means we are expecting 36 medals.

“Out of these 36 medals, at least five will be gold. I also believe that the private sector will play a key role. We know that in some countries, the private sector plays some key roles in sporting activities and not just trading or manufacturing sporting wares.”

The president further promised his administration’s commitment to ensure that Nigeria becomes the best sporting nation in Africa and among the top four sporting nations in the Commonwealth and ultimately rule the world.

Jonathan said the vision was not only realistic but was also achievable with hard work, greater sense of purpose and dedication.

The purpose of the retreat according to the president was to chart a new course for sports in Nigeria and reclaim the country’s past glory as well as restore happiness and glory to the sporting events.

Mr Jonathan observed that apart from its benefits in bringing joy to Nigerians, especially when the nation’s teams do well, no other sector of national life has a greater force for mobilising and uniting the people around a common purpose than sports.

Jonathan doles out cash to Paralympians and Falconets

President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday rewarded members of the Nigerian team to the 2012 London Paralympic Games and the national under-20 women football team (the Falconets).

At a reception held for both teams at State House Banquet Hall in Abuja, Mr Jonathan announced the conferment of the Member of the Order of Niger (MON) on six Paralympics athletes who won gold medals at the Games where Nigeria placed 22nd overall among 164 participating countries, and finished third behind Tunisia and South Africa among African countries.

The team of 29 athletes and 19 officials had won six gold, five silver and two bronze medals at the Paralympic Games.

The six gold medallists, who are all powerlifters and will be decorated on Monday in Abuja, include Yakubu Adesokan, who set a new world record in the men’s -48 k; Grace Anozie, Ivory Nwokorie, Loveline Obiji, Joy Onaolapo and Esther Oyema.

Mr Jonathan also announced a cash reward of N5 million for each gold medallist, while the five silver medallists were rewarded with N3 million each.

The two bronze medallists in the Paralympic team were also rewarded with N2 million each, while the team officials were each rewarded with N2.5 million.

Other members of the Paralympic team who did not win any medal at the Games, which was held from 29 August to 9 September, were also rewarded with N500, 000 Naira each.

The president further announced a reward of N1 million each for the women football team while their officials are to receive N1.2 million each.

The Falconets had finished fourth at the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup finals held in Japan from Aug. 18 to Sept. 8 in Japan.

The president said no amount of money or award would be enough to reward the two groups of Nigerian sports figures and that the reception was a modest recognition of their achievements.

“This is a modest recognition, which is just a token in our appreciation of your efforts. It is not the value of the money, but the recognition of your achievement, which is much more than any reward,” he said.

He praised the athletes, saying they gave hope to the Nigerian youths and those that are physically challenged.

“You represented our country to the best of your abilities. You competed among the very best in the world and still kept your heads. You made us proud, and I commend your exceptional courage.

“The Paralympians have also demonstrated to their fellow countrymen and women that being physically challenged is no barrier.

“It is also a great achievement on the part of the Falconets to come fourth in the world. It is not easy. You all helped to put smiles on our faces, and helped to remind the world that Nigeria is still a force in sports,’’ he said.

Earlier in his remarks, the Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi, had commended the president setting a pace in hosting the Paralympians and the Falconets.

He said it was the first time such an event was organised at that level to recognise athletes for performing outstandingly.

“I however want to call on the private sector to take a cue from the gesture of the President in honouring the Paralympians and the Falconets too,’’ he said.

The minister said the performance of both the Paralympians and Falconets comforted Nigerians following the poor outing of the athletes to the 2012 Olympics earlier.

He blamed the poor outing at the Olympics on high level of indiscipline and lack of commitment on the part of the athletes who represented the country.

Mr Abdullahi however pointed out that the greatest honour that could be bestowed on the Paralympic athletes was to give them early preparation for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, Brazil.

In the same vein, the Chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers, however cautioned Nigerians not to be too hard on the London 2012 Olympic athletes.

He blamed their poor outing on poor and late preparation and called on the relevant stakeholders to ensure early preparation for every global competition.

Mr Amaechi also seized the opportunity to call on the Presidency to take the menace of polio as a matter of national emergency.

He decried the recent increase in the number of polio cases recorded as at the last count, and said the NGF would support the federal government in all regards in addressing the problem.

While responding on behalf of the Falconets, the team captain Gloria Ofoegbu thanked the president and presented him with a team jersey signed by all players and officials.

Ms Onaolapo, a powerlifter and world record holder who responded on behalf of the Paralympic athletes, also thanked the federal government for the gesture.

She promised that the athletes would continue to make the president and the country proud through more brilliant performances in the future.

The reception was attended by Vice-President Namadi Sambo, Senate President David Mark and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim.

Governors Patrick Yakowa of Kaduna, Danbaba Suntai of Taraba, Idris Wada of Kogi, Theodore Orji of Abia, Martins Elechi of Ebonyi and Sullivan Chime of Enugu also attended the event.

Also in attendance were the Governors Isa Yuguda of Bauchi and Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, as well as the deputy governors of Bayelsa, Katsina, Jigawa, Gombe, Adamawa, Plateau and Kano States who represented their governors.

Analyst berates poor reception of Paralympic team

Dapo Daramola, a sports analyst on Thursday said the reception of the team that represented Nigeria in the London 2012 Paralympic games was of poor quality compared to what other countries did to welcome their disabled athletes.

The sports analysts, who disclosed this during a chat with the anchors of Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, said he didn’t see anything enthusiastic about the expectations of the Team Nigeria athletes concerning their reception at the airport.

Female powerlifters win silver, bronze to increase Nigeria’s medals

Team Nigeria has continued in making Nigerians proud at the on-going London 2012 Paralympic Games making the country take the lead ahead of other African countries on the medals table.And to make sure that title does not off; Powerlifters Folashade Oluwafemiayo and Victoria Nneji won silver and bronze medals respectively yesterday.

Oluwafemiayo also broke the world record twice before setting a new one at 148kg to knock off Chinese Taoying Fu’s 147kg effort in the women’s powerlifting -75kg class.

Oluwafemiayo and Fu lifted 146kg in their third attempts respectively but the Chinese was awarded the gold medal because she weighed 2kg less than the Nigerian. Fu weighed 72.53kg, while Oluwafemiayo weighed 74.17kg. Tzu-Hui Lin of Chinese Taipei won the bronze medal with her 137kg lift.

Their fourth attempts where Fu lifted 147kg and Oluwafemiayo 148kg were not to determine the winner but to have a new world record in the category.

Meanwhil, Nneji claimed her failure to win gold was due to a shoulder injury she sustained during camping for the Games in Korea after her poor start in the women’s powerlifting -67.5kg class.

She lifted 125kg to finish behind France’s Souhad Ghazouani (gold) and China’s Yujiao Tan (silver). Ghazouani had lifted 146kg in her first attempt but failed to complement in the subsequent attempts, while Nneji was only able to lift 125kg in her third attempt.

Nigeria ranked highest African country as Onaolapo claims fourth gold medal

More cheery news from the ongoing London Paralympic games as Team Nigeria athletes has increased their gold medals tally to 4.

Joy Onaolapo won gold in the 52 kilogram powerlifting women’s category thereby increase the country’s total medal haul to 7.

Nigeria remains the highest ranked African country on the overall medal table in seventh position.

Team Nigeria’s Olympic Woes: We deserve what we got -George Aluo

In discussing the downward slide of the sports sector in Nigeria, which of late reached its limits in the recently concluded London 2012 Olympics where Team Nigeria had a poor showing as they came back home without a medal, roving sports journalist George Aluo joined the crew of our breakfast show to look at what went wrong.

George said he was not surprised that Team Nigeria didn’t win any medal but he felt strongly that even with a dismal performance, Team Nigeria would still manage to scramble for a few medals here and there but alas that was not to be.

He continued by saying ‘Realistically he thought Team Nigeria would win medals from three sports namely athletics, long jump event, weightlifting and taekwondo.

Hulk determined to leave Porto

Porto player and Brazilian Forward Hulk has made up his mind on his future in the round leather game, as he has decided to leave the Portuguese champions for a likely and profitable move to high-profile club in either England or Spain.

According Hulk,he has done everything to make him transferable and he wishes to play in the English or Spanish league as there lots of opportunities to be benfitted in those leagues as it is being watched the world over.

The 26 year old Brazilian whose contract includes a buyout clause of 100 million euros ($123.51 million) and will runs until 2016 said it is now time for him to move on,meanwhile Hulk has been linked to the new European champions Chelsea towards the end of the English Premier League,also bidding for the Brazilian are France’s Paris St Germain and Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala.

Brazil forward Hulk is ready to leave Portuguese champions Porto and would like to move to a high-profile club in England or Spain.

He has been instrumental in the club’s successes over the past four seasons, helping them win three league titles, three Portuguese Cups, two Super Cups and one Europa League trophy.

Hulk, who featured in the Brazil team beaten by Mexico in last week’s London Olympics final, has been voted the best player in Portugal for the last two seasons.

London Olympic: Nigeria qualifies for 4x400m Women Relay final

Nigeria has qualified for the final of the 4x400m Women Relay at the London Olympic Games.

Nigeria’s quartet of Omolara Omotosho, Idara Otu, Bukola Abogunloko and Regina George posted a season best of 3 minutes 26 seconds to place fourth in the race.

Jamaica’s team of Christine day, Shereefa Lloyd, Shericka Williams and Rosemarie Whyte won the race in a season best of 3 minutes 25 seconds.

Hope for 4x100m finals

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s sprinter Damola Osayomi has admitted that there has been a lot tension as a result of Team Nigeria’s performance at the on-going Olympic games.

Osayomi however promised that Team Nigeria will do it’s best to win a medal in final of the women’s 4×100 metres later today.

She was part women’s 4×100 quartet that included Christy Udoh, Gloria Asumnu and Blessing Okagbare which qualified for the final after running a season best of 42.74 seconds, coming fifth in round one of the event.

After the top three teams in each round were picked, the next two fastest teams were chosen to make the final eight with the luck falling on Nigeria and Brazil.

Poor preparations

Notwithstanding, the Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi has stated that poor preparations has marred the country’s chances at the London Olympics.

Abdullahi who admitted that Nigeria had relied on luck for a long time, said the dismal performance of the country’s athletes at the games should serve as opportunity to rebuild.

The Minister also urged everyone involved in sports administration to find a way forward after such disappointing outing.

He however, praised Team Nigeria athletes for putting up a brave showing at the Olympics while pleading for understanding and encouragement from Nigerians.

Dibaba re-writes Olympic history in 10,000m

Tirunesh Dibaba; a name that became known after she wrote Olympic history in Beijing by becoming the first woman to take both long distance titles at the Games she defended her 10,000m gold medal  four years ago.

Dibaba still 26 years old became the only Ethiopian woman in history who has won the 25 lap race at two Olympic Games in a row a unique achievement you’ll say.

Tirunesh, had once been inspired to start running by her cousin: Derartu Tulu and sine her 10,000m feat on Friday evening, these two have something special in common. Tulu is the only other woman to have won two Olympic 10,000m gold. But Tulu had not achieved this feat in consecutive Games. She won in 1992 and 2000.

You never know how far Dibaba can go in terms of history writing in the London 2012 Olympics as she may do the 500 metres next week only if Ethiopian officials decide to pick her for the race, you ask why? Dibaba was nominated as a reserve runner for the 5000 m in London with a season’s best of 14:50.80 minutes in the 5,000m; Dibaba is only number four in Ethiopia so far. That is why she is the reserve but the 10,000m gold medal winner in the 2012 Olympics, is ready to attempt the double again.

She said “I am ready for the 5,000 metres and will prepare for the heats,”

Dibaba said after the 10,000m race “I have never been happier than today – this is even better than in Beijing.”

She secured the gold medal with a great sprint in the final 500 metres. Improving her own world lead of 30:24.39 minutes to 30:20.75 she was well ahead of Kenyans Sally Kipyego (30:26.37) and Vivian Cheruiyot (30:30.44). Her hard working fellow Ethiopian Werknesh Kidane, who had increased the pace a couple of times, finished fourth with 30:39.38 minutes.

At the beginning of the year she would not have thought that such a comeback at the London Olympics would be possible. “After a series of injuries I never thought that I would be ready for the Games. I have surprised myself by making it,” said Dibaba.

While Dibaba had been absent last year Kenya’s Vivian Cheruiyot won the two long distance track gold medals at the World Championships in Daegu. ”

But according to Dibaba, before today’s race she was not afraid of the Kenyans who had started training professionally at the age of 14 and collected a total of 21 medals at the World Cross Country Championships so far.

Dibaba, who had only run two 10,000m races since her gold medal in Beijing: In 2010 she won the African Championships and this year she was first in Eugene with her world lead. In between she had been out for more than a year due to a stress fracture in her shin. Coming back with a win in the 10k race in Madrid at New Year’s Eve 2011 she continued doing well. She took the 2 miles at the Boston Indoors in February (9:21.60) and then won the ‘Carlsbad 5000’ on the road with 15:01. After that race she had already declared: “I am ready for the Olympics.”

“We had a team tactic. Our coaches had told us before the race to make it faster during the final couple of laps,” explained Tirunesh Dibaba, when questioned about the work Kidane put in. “I had planned to go ahead either 600 or 500 metres from the finish,. Since it was a fast race I decided to wait until 500m to go.”

Now the wife of Married to two-time Olympic silver medallist at 10,000m, Sileshi Sihine (2004 and 2008), Dibaba recalled that the training in Addis Ababa went very well. But at the same time there was some pressure building up and she was worried about that because she was not in her best form.

Dibaba had already won a 5000 m gold medal at the World Championships 2003 at the age of 17, when she became the youngest individual gold medal winner in the history of the event. Two years later she became the first runner to take both gold medals (5000m and 10,000m) at the World Championships.