North Korean Athletes Arrive South For Paralympics



FILE PHOTO (L-R) Tonga’s Pita Taufatofua, China’s Liu Jiayu, USA’s Lindsey Vonn, North Korea’s Kim Ju Sik, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach and South Korea’s Yun Sungbin.


North Korean athletes and delegates arrived in the South Wednesday to take part in the Winter Paralympics, as part of an Olympics-driven detente between the two neighbours.

Two competitors — both of them taking part in cross-country skiing — along with four observer athletes and 18 officials crossed the land border north of Seoul before heading for the venues.

Their journey came a day after Seoul announced plans to hold a historic summit between the North’s leader Kim Jong Un and the South’s President Moon Jae-in — the latest fruit of their Olympics-fuelled diplomacy.

Moon sought to use the February 9-25 Pyeongchang Winter Games to try to broker dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang in a bid to ease the nuclear standoff between them.

The North mounted a charm offensive by sending hundreds of cheerleaders and Kim’s sister to the opening ceremony of the Games, during which athletes from the two Koreas marched together under a neutral “unification flag”.

Seoul responded by sending Moon’s special envoys — including his spy chief — to Pyongyang this week, where leader Kim told them he was willing to discuss denuclearisation with the US.

The North Korean athletes — Kim Jong Hyon and Ma Yu Chol — may march with their counterparts from the South during Friday’s opening ceremony for the Paralympics, which run until March 18.

The pair made their international debuts in a tournament in January in Oberried, Germany.

It is the first time the North, which has often faced criticism for its cruel treatment of disabled people, has taken part in the Winter Paralympics.

Pyongyang had previously sent athletes to the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London and the 2016 edition of the games in Rio.

Craig Spence, a spokesman for the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), said the athletes had been given “bipartite” slots for the games, meaning they had not been able to meet the full qualification criteria.

“They have bipartite invitations from us due to their circumstances. They have not been travelling around the world and have not been able to take part in all the qualifying events,” he told AFP.


Russian To Learn 2018 Paralympic Fate In January – IPC

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) on Wednesday maintained Russia’s doping suspension with a decision on their participation in the 2018 Paralympics to be made in January.

In a statement the IPC said they had extended the ban as the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) had not made sufficient progress to justify their reinstatement.

““The RPC is making headway with the IPC on three of the five remaining reinstatement criteria.

“However sadly, and much to our growing disappointment and frustration, there is a lack of progress regarding an official response from the Russian authorities specifically and adequately addressing the McLaren findings and evidence.”

Russia were suspended by the IPC in August 2016 following revelations of widespread state-sponsored doping uncovered in a report by Richard McLaren on behalf of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

It also saw the country’s track and field team banned from the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The IPC established a taskforce to monitor and assist the Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) in a process of reforming.

Wednesday’s statement added: “The IPC Taskforce still has significant concerns as to the lack of any material progress regarding the provision of an official response from the Russian authorities that adequately addresses the findings made by Professor McLaren.

READ ALSO: Russia Banned From 2018 Winter Olympics Over Doping

“This is a requirement of the WADA roadmap for the reinstatement of RUSADA and a reinstatement criterion for the RPC.”

The statement concluded that it was “keeping the door open” for Russia to compete at Pyeongchang for as long as possible but warned that “January’s deadline is fast approaching”.

The 2018 Paralympics are being staged in South Korea from March 9-18.


BBC Sports Personality Of The Year 2016 Shortlist Revealed

BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2016 Shortlist RevealedSixteen contenders have been shortlisted for the 2016 BBC Sports Personality of the Year award.

The 16 for 2016 were named after a year in which British sportsmen and women had a lot of successes, including at the Olympics and Paralympics in Rio.

They will go into a vote on the night of the live show in Birmingham on Sunday, December 18.

Jamie Vardy makes the cut after helping guide Leicester City to the biggest title upset in Premier League history while Bale features for winning his second Champions League title with Real Madrid in May and being the standout star in Wales’ Euro 2016 campaign in the summer.

However, Andy Murray is heavy favourite to win the award, having ended the year as No.1 in the world rankings – a first for any British singles player in history.

The Scot secured victory at Wimbledon for the second time in his career, while he also won gold at the Olympics.

A host of Olympic and Paralympic athletes are on the shortlist.

The nominees are:

Nicola Adams – Boxing, Gareth Bale – Football, Alistair Brownlee – Triathlon, Sophie Christiansen – Equestrian, Kadeena Cox – Athletics/Cycling, Mo Farah – Athletics, Jason Kenny – Cycling, Laura Kenny – Cycling.

Andy Murray – Tennis, Adam Peaty – Swimming, Kate Richardson-Walsh – Hockey, Nick Skelton – Equestrian, Dame Sarah Storey – Cycling, Jamie Vardy – Football, Max Whitlock – Gymnastics, Danny Willett – Golf.

Obiano Rewards Two Paralympic Athletes In Anambra

Obiano, Okorocha, Imo, Paralympic Athletes, Paralympic, Rochas Okorocha, Agriculture, House, Nigeria, ParalympicThe Anambra State Governor, Willie Obiano, says he has developed well-articulated programmes for the improvement and welfare of persons living with disabilities both in sports, education and in social integration.

The Governor was speaking during the recognition and presentation of gifts to two victorious Anambra athletes who won medals at the just concluded Paralympics Games in Rio de Janerio, Brazil.

The gold medalist in Javelin, Ifeyinwa Ugwumba, received a reward of 1 million Naira in addition to automatic employment in Anambra State Civil Service and similarly, the bronze medalist Njideka Iyiazi, received 1 million Naira and immediate employment into the State Civil Service.

The Governor also rewarded the two coaches that trained the athletes with half a million Naira each.

The Special Assistant to the Governor on Physically Challenged Persons, Mr Chucks Ezewuzie, said that the Governor would continue to raise the self-esteem of persons living with disability.

The State Commissioner for Youths, Entrepreneurship and Sports Development, Mrs Uju Nwogu, also added that the Governor’s commitment has ensured that excellence has been recorded in sports since he took office.

For them it is the beginning of sports revolution in the state as many who have left will come back and join in uplifting sports in the state.

Blade Runner, Liam Malone, Beats Pistorius’ Record

Blade runner, Liam Malone beats Pistorius' record
                                                           Photo: Getty

Blade runner, Liam Malone, has set a new record at the ongoing Paralympic Games in Rio, Brazil.

The New Zealand national broke Oscar Pistorius’ 21.30 seconds best on Tuesday after winning gold in the men’s 200m T44 final in a time of 21.06 seconds.

“I wouldn’t be here without those blades in the first instance.

“I’m filled with gratitude to everyone who invested in me from the start,” he told Stuff news agency.

Malone’s coach, James Mortimer, admitted that he did not expect the new champion to break Pistorius’ record.

He said he always felt the 200m would be Malone’s best chance of winning a gold medal.

“After watching his heat I knew he was in pretty good form, especially with how relaxed he was.

“But watching it this morning, he just ran as well as he could and just executed everything as we planned and brought it home well,” he said.

The feat has earned Malone a second medal of the Paralympics while New Zealand got their third gold of the day.

The 22-year-old had won a silver medal in the 100m on Friday, losing out to Great Britain’s Jonnie Peacock.

Rio Paralympic: Nigeria Wins First Medal

Rio 2016 ParalympicTeam Nigeria has won its first medal at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Latifat Tijani lifted 106kg to win silver in the women’s 45kg powerlifting event.

The Nigerian lifter had made a bright start, entering the competition with 101kg and breaking the existing Paralympics record. But her record was short-lived, as China’s Dandan Hu set a new one of 102.

Both lifters entered into a more interesting contest, but the Chinese had the upper hand, setting a new World and Paralympics record with 107.0 to finish tops

Great Britain’s Zoe Newson got bronze with 102kg.

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.

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.

Obiji clinches gold number five for Nigeria

Another powerlifter for Nigeria, Loveline obiji has clinched gold medal number five for Nigeria after outclassing her opponents at the London 2012 Paralympics.

The country now has five gold medals, five silver medals and one bronze.

Obiji put behind all the pressure associated with the controversial loss going Team Nigeria’s winding down of claiming the gold medals temporarily after a remarkable start in the Paralympic games.

Obiji said after she established the lead she was very sure that the gold was hers and she told God it was what she wanted even though she was not under any pressure.

The Imo State-born athlete who is making her Paralympics debut said all that remains for her is to come back home to prepare for the 2016 Paralympics.

Randa Mahmood of Egypt took the silver at 140kg, while China’s Xu Yanmei won bronze with 129kg.

The power-lifting events continue today with the men taking their turn in the hunt for medals. Team Nigeria are however hopeful that the lead for African countries on the medals table will be maintain by Nigeria at the number one position on the power-lifting medals table.