Governor’s South-West Badminton Championship Lights Up Lagos

Governor's South-West Badminton Championship Lights Up LagosThe inaugural edition of the Governor’s South-West Badminton Championship, which kicked off on December 7, 2016, continues Thursday, at the indoor hall of the Rowe Park sport centre, Yaba, Lagos state.

The four day badminton championship which is expected to be contested by a massive eighty eight (88) players from a number of categories, is being attended by free spirited fans and badminton lovers alike set to revel in the frenzy.

It would also include the country’s top 16 ranked players and two officials each from every participating state.

Completing the cast of participating players are: four male and female players from each of the south-western states for the senior category and two players (male and female) from the U15 level, as the competition also moves to improve grass-root badminton.

The competition’s sponsors, the Lagos state government, would also provide feeding and accommodation for all the invited players including the twelve coaches and twenty five technical officials on ground for the three-day badminton fiesta.

The prize money for the maiden edition of the championship would also follow similar ground breaking trend, as it takes a bold move to foster gender equality.

The singles event for both male and female categories would have winners cash away an incredible 150,000 Naira each, for the 1st position, while the 2nd and 3rd positions would be rewarded with 100,000 and 75,000 Naira respectively.

Also, the doubles category without doubt would be as well contested as the singles category with the 1st position, going with 150,000.00, 2nd with 100,000.00 and 3rd, 25,000 x 4.

The junior U15 classification will have plenty to cheer for when the four day championship ends as they would be heading home with badminton rackets, racket bags and plenty of the games materials to aid their progress and development.

With the Lagos State Badminton association grooming a young team of passionate badminton players, the 1st governor’s south-west championship provides yet the best test of their mettle on the court.

Perhaps for a few, it is Lagos versus the myriad of top-notch players which the country has to offer, while for others, it might be just another invaluable moment to enjoy the beautiful game of badminton at its best.

Jos Marathon: Athletes Solicit More Government Involvement

jos-marathonAthletes at the just concluded Jos marathon competition, are soliciting more involvement of the government, in long distance races.

This according to them, is in order to compete favorably with their counterparts across the globe and win more laurels for the country at international competitions.

Winner of the 42 kilometre race, Philibus Sharabutu, believes that government participation in providing camping for the athletes, before major competitions as well as provision of adequate medical services and kits, will motivate athletes in bringing out their best at competitions.

In his words, “most marathoners sponsor themselves to competitions and if government could help us, we have the skill and determination to run in marathon races across the globe and come out tops.

“We have the chances to perform better than the Kenyans in marathon, but the government should invest more in the athletes by motivating us through long period camping, medical attention and adequate kits.”

Secretary General of Athletics federation of Nigeria, Bamiduro Olumide, however expressed satisfaction on the standard of the event with assurance that the federation will give its support to the annual event.

“We are happy to identify with the Jos marathon, it’s one of our ideas in promoting athletes at all levels, as we are looking at other areas of diversifying in various specialties, so that we can win medals at various competitions globally – that is why we are supporting the long distance races and this event in particular.

“Having seen this, we’re looking forward to the next edition which will be better organised,” the athletics scribe added.

Over 200 runners participated in the Jos international marathon in three categories, namely the five, 10 and 42 kilometres races across the tin city.

josmarathon

One of Nigeria’s prospects in the long distance race, Philibus Sharabutu, who emerged winner in the 42 kilometre race, breasted the tape in 2 hrs 28 minutes 46 secs.

He carted away the prize money of five million Naira, Iliya Pam, came second with 2 hrs 29 minutes 49 secs while Kefas Williams came third at 2 hrs 30 minutes 42 secs.

In the women category, athletes of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps, dominated the race with Deborah Pam, emerging the winners in 2 hrs 52 mins 16 secs, Hudung Gyang, second in 3 hrs 01 mins 01 secs, while Olude Fadekemi, was third in 3 hrs 01 mins 54 secs.

The Jos marathon started in 2009 but did not attract high profile athletes until the 2016 edition, in which more athletes across the nation participated with the prize money having increased to five million Naira for winners, 2.5 million Naira for the first runners up and 1.5 million Naira, for the second runners up.

The first ten runners were also awarded various prizes with 5% of the prize money being donated to charity organisations.

Channels National Kids Cup: Daemm, Uncle Bayus To Represent Lagos

Uncle Bayus TeamUncle Bayus Primary School and Daemm Schools, Alakuko have emerged Lagos representatives for Season Seven of the Channels National Kids Cup.

The final day of the preliminaries got off with the quarter-final.

The opening game was between defending champion Toyibat and Afolabi Yusuf’s St. Paul. Toyibat scored the first goal, St. Paul equalised from the spot in the dying minutes and the match ended 1-1 in regulation time. Toyibat won the game 4-3 via penalties to book their place in the semi-finals.

Uncle Bayus met stiff opposition in Rockford Private School but managed to hold on to a 1-0 victory to make the last four. Daemm produced an impressive 3-0 win over Hopeland. Obayemi Tobi scored a brace and Uche Nwankwo’s own-goal kept Daemm’s hopes alive in fighting for one of the ticket to the National finals.

The last quarter-final game was between Ebute-Metta Primary School and Ebute-Elefun. Last year’s losing finalist sealed their place in the semi-final with an easy 3-0 win.

About 20 minutes after the quarter-final matches ended, the semi-final matches started at the same stadium.

The semi-final games lived up to expectations. The four teams competing showed good quality and class. They knew the tickets were up for grabs and they wanted it. The first game between Daemm and Toyibat was a cracker. First half ended goalless, when the game resumed, Daemm scored. The champions did not give up. They kept on fighting till they levelled up through Toyeeb Lasisi.

With about two minutes to the end of regulation time, Toyibat was awarded a penalty. Idowu Samuel was supposed to take it but Okayi Chidi stepped up to the challenge and missed. Game ended 1-1 and went into penalty shoot-out.

Toyibat could not repeat the sort of quality they displayed in the shoot-out against St. Paul and lost 3-1 to Daemm. The champions lost out on the chance to defend the trophy they won last year. Joy for Daemm as they picked up a ticket to the national finals in May.

One more to decide who gets the remaining ticket.

Uncle Bayus and Ebute-Metta will fight for it. It was a stiff contest, but it was the debutants that showed class and went on to win 1-0. Ebute-Metta that made it to the final last year will not feature this year.

QUARTER-FINALS RESULTS

TOYIBAT  1 – 1  ST. PAUL ANGLICAN
(Toyibat won 4 – 3 on penalties)

UNCLE BAYUS  1 – 0  ROCKFORD

HOPELAND 0 – 3 DAEM

EBUTE-METTA 3 – 0 EBUTE-ELEFUN

SEMI-FINAL RESULTS

DAEMM 1 – 1 TOYIBAT

(Daemm won 3 – 1 on penalties)

UNCLE BAYUS 1 – 0 EBUTE-METTA

ITTF World Tour Serves Off In Lagos

Lagos OpenAfter months of preparations, particularly the confirmation of participants, the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) World Tour, Lagos Open is set to serve off on Tuesday, March 10 at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.

Eighty-two players drawn from 11 countries will compete in the $46,000 prize money tournament, which is also a world ranking event, listed on the ITTF World Tour calendar as a challenge series.

As the second challenge series after the Hungary Open, the tournament will once again renew the fierce rivalry between Nigeria and Egypt as the North African team has a 12-man contingent competing in the six events at the championship.

Unlike the previous editions, where players are expected to compete from the group stage to qualify for the next stage, this year’s edition has a knock-out format, where players will only progress after
winning each match.
According to Competition Manager who has appointed by the ITTF, Mounir Bessah, the stage is set for the commencement of the competition as everything has been put in place by the host.
“I am satisfied with what I have seen so far and there is an improvement from what I witnessed last year. I think the tournament is improving each year and I am happy with the atmosphere coupled with the kind of organisation put in place. We are also hopeful that the players will have an exciting time in Lagos.

“The equipment is of world standard as it meets ITTF specifications while the hotel and logistics are also perfect. I believe that the tournament will be more exciting this year with the quality of players competing this year,” Bessah said.

An elated President, Africa Table Tennis Federation (ATTF), Khaled El-Salhy, believes Lagos Open has become a rally point for Africa, with the quality of organisation and the presence of Lagos fans who
most times make the tournament very glamorous.

“I am looking forward to the huge support the players used to get from the Lagos fans. I think this competition is unique because the fans are always there for the players and this alone makes the tournament different from every other in the continent. I must commend the efforts of the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) led by Wahid Oshodi for their commitment and sincerity in igniting the love for the sport among the fans and for us in ATTF, this is very important for our sport to grow and get more sponsors,” the ATTF boss said.

Africa’s number one table tennis player, Nigeria’s Aruna Quadri has arrived for the championship and had his first training on Monday. He has also promised to put behind him the disappointments of Cairo, Kuwait and Qatar by giving the home fans reasons to cheer at end of the Lagos Open.

Channels National Kids Cup Call For Lagos Applications

channels_kids_cupThe Executive Committee of the 6th Edition of the Channels National Kids Cup has called for entries from Lagos State Schools that are interested in participating at the football competition.

The tournament which is aimed at discovering young talents and promoting the game of football at the grassroots level is a corporate social responsibility programme of Channels Television.

The competition is strictly for pupils’ currently in primary school and not above the age of 13 at the date of commencement of the football event.

Supported by the Lagos State Football Association (LSFA), this year’s edition will feature 16 teams, 4 from Lagos and 12 others that will be invited from the different regions of the federation.

The LSFA in propagating its Eko Football vision has laid emphasis on youth development and has encouraged local tournaments such as the monthly under-13 and under-15 boys and girls football event.

According to the chairman of the main organising committee, Mr Steve Judo, the Lagos State preliminaries will be played on knock-out basis and the semi-finalists will play at the National finals.

Mr Judo gave the assurance that this year’s edition would be exciting as kids from other parts of the federation would converge on Lagos to compete and make new friends.

Schools in Lagos that want to participate at the tournament can pick up application forms free of charge at Channels Television headquarters, Isheri North and the State Universal Basic Education Board in Maryland.

Click here to read Regulations For The Competition.

Toriola, Quadri, Ajetunmobi In Winning Start At ITTF World Tour in Germany

Table tennis rackets and ballNigeria’s trio of Segun Toriola, Aruna Quadri and Seun Ajetunmobi started their campaigns at the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) organised World Tour tagged German Open with victories in their first matches at the five-day championship.

With over 290 players from 41 countries taking part in the championship in Magdeburg, Germany, Ajetunmobi inspired his compatriot when he defeated Germany’s Phillip Floritz in an explosive encounter that attracted the fans to table two.

From the start of the match, the German was confident that he was going to have a good run against the Nigerian and he got the confidence boost when he won the first two matches at 11-8, 11-5. Ajetunmobi fought back to level up at 11-9, 11-9. The German restored the lead with 1-5 win but as usual Ajetunmobi recovered to win the sixth game at 11-8.  However, the final game was beyond the German as he fell 11-5 to Ajetunmobi to concede defeat.

For Aruna, it was an easy ride as he whitewashed Italy’s Marco Rech Daldosso 13-11, 11-8, 11-3, 11-6.

Just as it was for Ajetunmobi, Toriola did not have it easy against Russia’s Taras Merzlikin but he put up a good fight to beat the Russian 15-13, 8-11, 9-11, 10-12, 11-9, 11-8, 11-7.

For a place in the main draw, Ajetunmobi will play his last group match against Russia’s Alexey Liventsou, while Quadri will confront Japan’s Yuto Muramatsu on Thursday. Toriola will also battle Czech Republic’s Pavel Sirucek.

For the women’s singles pairing, Olaide Atinuke has been drawn in Group 22 alongside Slovakia’s Barbora Balazova and Hungary’s Dora Madarasz, while Ganiat Olatunde-Aruna will tackle Spain’s Galia Dvorak and Russia’s Elena Troshneva in Group 22.

SPORTS: Credit President Jonathan For Abdullahi’s Success – Amaju Pinnick

Amaju PinnickThe Executive Chairman, Delta State Sports Commission, Amaju Pinnick, on Friday attributed the success of sacked Sports Minister, Mr Bolaji Abdullahi to President Goodluck Jonathan, maintaining that the President “gave him everything he needed to succeed.”

President Jonathan, on Wednesday sacked Mr Abdullahi and ordered that one of the 11 newly sworn in ministers, Dr Tamuno Danagogo, take over.

While on Sunrise Daily, Pinnick, who lauded the sacked minister, Bolaji Abdullahi as an excellent man who had a vision and mission, opined that “Sport is a continuous process and the minister being removed is a case of the devil and the deep blue sea.”

He also maintained that Abdullahi’s record beats those of his predecessors over the past 20 years. “In fact, in the last 20 years, he’s one minister that has been very exceptional in brilliance and putting things together but it goes beyond that.”

He further credited the ex-minister’s success to his easy access and rapport with the President, who gave him everything he needed to succeed.

He said that the success recorded by the former minister were also as a result of the President’s support. “That’s the key element; the Presidency gave him all the support, so you cannot attribute his success to him alone but also to the President.”

Mr Pinnick also credited the Nigerian Football Federation “as well as some state governments including Lagos, Delta, Cross Rivers, Rivers and (maybe) Ondo for giving the former minister a good platform to work on.”

According to Pinnick, “The good news about this whole thing is that he has been able to establish a template” which his successor will benefit from and improve on. So, the success story of Nigerian sports development can continue.

“I think in the historiography of Nigeria, annals of history in Nigeria, his name certainly will be etched in one place.”

On speculations that Abdullahi was sacked for political reasons, Pinnick said “you cannot serve two masters” and so “nobody wants to care whether you are successful.”

He maintained that people should not fault the President’s action as he may have information they are not privy to. Pinnick further advocated a fixed tenure for the position of Sports Minister in order to control how they are removed from office.

World Cup 2014: Q.Final Is The Realistic Target For Nigeria – Ochonogor

A Sport Analyst, Ochonogor Chimbiani, has cautioned that the pressure put on the Nigerian national football team; Super Eagles for the 2014 World Cup, however justifiable should be positively exploited.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Rubbin’ Minds on Sunday, Chimbiani gave an insight into her expectations for Nigerian football in the New Year, starting with the country’s debut appearance at the African Nations’ Championship, CHAN 2014 in January.

She stated that she expects that even as debutants, Nigeria should do well at the tournament, but she would not expect too much from the team. According to her although some key players like Nations Cup hero, Sunday Mba, can no longer feature for the team, Nigeria has enough talents, and coping without the likes of Mba would not be a problem.

She also expressed hope that 2014 would be the year when Nigeria gets its league management right, hoping that “good things will happen in 2014.”

Looking ahead to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Ochonogor believes that the pressure being put on Super Eagles Coach, Stephen Keshi is right and expected. According to her, the pressure was there when Keshi went to African Nation’s Cup and it inspired them to do better.

With Show Host, Ebuka arguing that the World Cup pressure is of a larger magnitude due to the expectations of Nigerians themselves, who want more of the AFCON success, Ochonogor admitted that the Semi-final target set for the team may be too much, but it is analytically realistic, as football is not mathematics and at the tournament anything can happen.

She advised that Keshi should pick the best of the players available to him and also get his preparations right. She encouraged that Africa can do something this time despite the presence of countries like Argentina, Brazil, and Spain who boast of fantastic players.

She also noted that the Nigerian team having no particular star player like Didier Drogba for Ivory Coast is not a problem but rather could be strength. According to her “team work is what is going for us in the Super Eagles”.

She added that a situation whereby the home based and foreign based players were willing to work together with a much disciplined Coach Keshi has been the key to the successes so far recorded; a system she expects to continue into the World Cup.

On the situation whereby many of the stand-out players of the African Cup of Nations, AFCON victory are not key players in their clubs, with the likes of Mikel Obi and Victor Moses not playing regularly and Sunday Mba just moving to a new club, Chimbiani said that Ivory Coast because of their major stars were tipped to win the AFCON but Nigeria won it.

She advised that Coach Keshi should open his doors to all players, including the ones he had abandoned like Chinedu Obasi, Osaze Odemwingie and Victor Nsofor to work with his AFCON team in order to pick his best squad.

On the possibility of Odemwingie returning to the team, Chimbiani said “I don’t think Keshi will (call him back) but I wish he does”.

Asked to give her verdict on Nigeria’s chances at the World Cup, she predicted a Quarter-Final finish as the realistic expectation.

World Cup 2014: Keshi Eyes Quarter Final

Super Eagles Head Coach, Stephen Keshi, has told the media in Abuja that his 2014 World Cup target is to do better than the country’s best performance of reaching the Round of 16 at the tournament.

Officials of the Nigeria Football Federation have said severally that they would not set a World Cup target for the team in Brazil to avoid putting them under undue pressure.

They, however, said that they would not stop Coach Keshi from setting personal goals.

At previous World Cup outings, Nigeria reached the Round of 16 at USA 1994 and France 1998, but couldn’t go beyond the group stage in Korea-Japan 2002 and South Africa 2010.

The former Super Eagles Captain hopes to build a team that will improve on these records by reaching the quarterfinal, which is also the best performance by an African team, achieved by Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002 and Ghana at the 2010 finals in South Africa.

Nigeria has been drawn in Group F with Argentina, Bosnia-Herzogovina and Iran.

The Nigeria Football Federation has announced the selection of Vitoria Hotel Concept Campinas as the Team Base Camp Hotel for next year’s FIFA World Cup finals.

Arreola & Stiverne To Fight For WBC Heavyweight Title

The World Boxing Council has declared that Chris Arreola and Bermane Stiverne will fight for a second time to decide the new heavyweight champion.

Canadian Stiverne, the WBC’s number-one ranked contender to Vitali Klitschko before the Ukrainian stepped away from boxing for politics, claimed a unanimous decision over American Arreola in April.

Arreola dropped Seth Mitchell in September inside the opening round to bounce back from the defeat and establish himself as the number two challenger.

Both boxers will meet again after their first encounter, with Vitali’s brother Wladimir who holds every other recognized world heavyweight title – waiting in the wings after declaring his intention to unify the division shortly after his older brother decided to leave boxing.

The last time Vitali’s fought was on September 8, 2012 against Germany’s Manuel Charr.

The Ukrainian won the fight via technical knockout when Charr had to be stopped due to a cut received from his opponent.

The former WBC heavyweight champion was expected to face Bermane Stiverne in a mandatory title defence, but was forced to pull out due to injury.

British fighters Tyson Fury and Dereck Chisora and unbeaten American, Deontay Wilder, are other heavyweights hoping to be in contention for the WBC heavyweight title.