The Lagos Kids Mini Marathon has kicked off in the Ikoyi area of the state.
This year’s event, which is the third in its series, is ongoing with scores of children participating.
Accompanied by their parents, the kids arrived at the event as early as 6:30 am to race for the top prizes in various categories of the marathon.
The athletes took part in an early morning drill after which they were grouped into various categories just before the race commenced.
The race, which covers 3km to 5km, comprises three age segments – seven to eight years, nine to 12 years, and 13 to 15 years and above.
It also features a new category called Walkaton – covering 1.2km for kids between ages four and six.
According to the organisers, all athletes will be given medals but the winners in each segment would be awarded active gold, silver, and bronze medals according to their positions.
The Lagos Kids Mini Marathon is hosted by St Saviour’s School, Ikoyi Endowment Fund with an objective to promote active kids and encourage them to run for a charitable cause.
The Kids Mini Marathon is a fun family annual event organised to inspire kids to be more active and health-conscious.
The maiden edition of the race held in November 2017 and is the first inter-school 5km run in the country.
In 2018, it was bigger and had more participation from young athletes and schools among others.
This year’s edition also features hundreds of participants drawn from over 150 schools, as well as over 250 volunteer adults.
A breakdown of the figure of the participants reveals that about 50 per cent are between four to eight years, 35 per cent are in the range of nine to 12 years, while the remaining fall between 13 and 16 years.
President Muhammadu Buhari Friday in Daura, Katsina, urged more young men and women in Nigeria to pursue sporting careers, which can bring rewarding incomes, promote healthy local and global relationships, and ensure unity.
The President said the health benefits in sports should make it more attractive to both young and old.
President Buhari, who received Organizers of the Muhammadu Buhari Cup Competition in Katsina and some soccer teams at his country home, said “I want the younger generation of our population to take part in sports so as to keep away from mischief and lawlessness.”
The Muhammadu Buhari Cup Competition is held annually in Daura Emirate to encourage youths to develop interest in sporting careers and enhance their skills.
The President commended organizers of the competition for maintaining unity among the youths in the Emirate, adding that by keeping the young people positively engaged, sporting activities also protect them from negative influences.
In addition to physical and mental fitness, President Buhari said sports also provides employment and ensures wellbeing.
“Sports provide jobs opportunities. It is also a business from which you can earn respectable incomes,” President Buhari added.
The President said those who compete and excel at state and zones will eventually rise into national reckoning with focus and determination.
The Secretary of the Local Organizing Committee of the competition, Malam Aliyu Bello told the President that before introduction of various cup competitions, young people in the Emirate were contending with idleness, lawlessness and in some cases, drugs abuse.
He said revival of sporting events in the state by Alhaji Sani Abu had brought a decline in negative activities.
The Director of Sports in Katsina State, Nalado Iro Kankia, assured the President that Governor Aminu Bello Masari’s administration will continue to provide facilities and opportunities for promotion of sports.
Tottenham made the headlines on a busy final day of the Premier League transfer window with deals in the pipeline for Giovani lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon, but their hopes of signing Paulo Dybala are fading.
Across north London, Arsenal are expected to complete moves for Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney and centre-back David Luiz from Chelsea.
Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku’s prolonged transfer to Inter Milan is also close to completion after the clubs reportedly agreed on a deal that could rise to 80 million euros (£74 million, $90 million).
Lukaku arrived in Milan early on Thursday, leaving United facing a race against time to find a replacement despite interest in Juventus forward Mario Mandzukic.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has been under pressure from manager Mauricio Pochettino to build on the progress made on and off the field as Tottenham moved into a new 62,000-capacity stadium and reached the Champions League final last season.
They have made just one summer signing so far, with French international midfielder Tanguy Ndombele joining for a club-record fee from Lyon, but all that is set to change in the final hours of the window.
Argentine international midfielder Lo Celso is expected to complete a season-long loan deal that will contain an obligation on Tottenham’s part to make the transfer permanent next summer.
And Spurs’ long-running interest in England under-21 international Sessegnon will be realised in a reported £25 million deal that could rise to £30 million including add-ons.
However, a sensational swoop for Dybala has reportedly broken down, with Juventus unwilling to let the Argentine leave without an adequate replacement, having missed out on Lukaku.
Arsenal are badly in need of defensive recruits to shore up a backline that conceded 51 Premier League goals last season to miss out on Champions League football for a third straight year.
Tierney travelled to London on Wednesday after the payment structure of a £25-million move from Celtic was finally agreed between the clubs.
Luiz is also set for a switch across London to replace departed Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny, who joined Bordeaux earlier this week, in a £8 million transfer from Chelsea.
No more business is expected at Premier League champions Manchester City after they secured right-back Joao Cancelo from Juventus on Wednesday.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp confirmed the European champions would not delve into the market at the last minute after making just three low-key additions in teenagers Sepp van den Berg and Harvey Elliott and back-up goalkeeper Adrian.
By contrast, Merseyside neighbours Everton are hoping to complete a host of last-minute deals to add to six arrivals already at Goodison Park during the window.
Everton are hopeful of taking Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo on loan and could still land Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha after the Ivorian submitted a transfer request and did not train with the Eagles on Thursday.
Leicester are also set to use some of the £80 million they received from Manchester United for Harry Maguire on Sampdoria midfielder Dennis Praet for 20 million euros.
Harry Kane scored a stunning 93rd minute winner from the halfway line as Tottenham Hotspur edged Juventus 3-2 in an entertaining pre-season friendly in Singapore on Sunday.
The England captain latched onto Lucas Moura’s short pass and launched a first-time shot high over a scrambling substitute keeper Wojciech Szczesny as Spurs rallied past new manager Maurizio Sarri’s Italian champions in front of a delighted National Stadium crowd.
“It’s probably one of the best goals of my career. I noticed the keeper was often off of his line and thought if I get a chance to shoot I will and it just went in,” Kane said in a post-match interview.
A youthful Spurs dominated the first half as Juventus struggled to adapt to their new coach’s “Sarri-ball” tactic of playing out from the back with short, quick passes.
Instead of moving the ball forward, Juventus often found themselves defending desperately after being caught in possession as Spurs pressed high up the pitch with the Premier League side going on to take a deserved lead on the half-hour mark.
Son Heung-min started the move by holding up play and feeding Troy Parrott for a clear run at Gianluigi Buffon in the Juventus goal, with the 17-year-old forward’s low strike parried by the veteran keeper straight into the path of an unmarked Erik Lamela for a routine tap-in.
“It was a very good game, very competitive. To be honest, we are still short in our preparations and I wasn’t planning to play this way so early in the pre-season … we were still hoping to give some players more rest after a long campaign,” Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino said.
“The result was not the most important thing today, the performance was and how we continue our preparations for the upcoming season.”
Juventus had more success after the break when they increased their tempo and went more direct, and halftime substitute Gonzalo Higuain levelled the score in the 56th minute with a drilled strike after exchanging neat passes with Federico Bernardeschi.
Buoyed by the equaliser, Juventus were soon ahead when Cristiano Ronaldo arrived late to drive home Mattia De Sciglio’s cutback four minutes later, leaving to rapturous applause by an adoring crowd when he was substituted immediately after scoring.
Spurs were level in the 65th minute, however, when Champions League semi-final hero Lucas fired home record signing Tanguy Ndombele’s low cross, the French midfielder finding the Brazilian with his first touch after coming on as a substitute.
Kane and Higuain both squandered good chances to score winning goals in the final 10 minutes before the England striker prevented the contest going to a penalty shootout with the most brilliant of strikes.
South Korea will launch an inquiry into sexual and other abuses in the nation’s scandal-ridden sports community, the government said Friday, as the sports minister called for an end to its “win-at-all-costs” mentality.
Double Olympic short track gold medallist Shim Suk-hee earlier this month went public with accusations her former coach molested her multiple times, prompting several other victims to come forward.
South Korea is a regional sporting power and regularly in the top 10 medal table places at the summer and winter Olympics.
But in an already intensely competitive society, winning is virtually everything in its sports community and coaches hold immense power over athletes’ careers — intimidating victims from coming forward.
“I want to apologise to athletes, their families and citizens in South Korea for not preventing such incidents of abuse,” said sports minister Do Jong-hwan.
“With this probe, we need to walk away from the winning-at-all-costs philosophy,” he told reporters. “We can no longer push athletes into a fierce competition system under the name of national pride.”
The sports, education and gender equality ministries will draw up a plan to revise relevant laws to jail sports officials who do not report sex crimes in their organisations, Do added.
A separate probe will be launched into the Korea National Sport University, he said, where a staff member has been accused of sexually molesting a student athlete.
Not all the cases involve sexual assaults, and not all the victims are women.
in November, South Korea’s “Garlic Girls” curling team, who shot to fame by winning Olympic silver at last year’s Pyeongchang Games, accused their coaches of verbal abuse and being excessively controlling.
Another speed skater, Noh Seon-yeong, last year accused the Korea Skating Union (KSU) of forcing her brother Jin-kyu — a top medal contender for Sochi 2014 — to stay in training rather than seek medical attention despite chronic pain.
He was later diagnosed with bone cancer following a training injury, never went to Sochi and died in 2016.
“My brother was just used by the KSU, whose members were only interested in collecting Olympic gold medals,” Noh said.
The 2018 Lagos International Squash Classics will serve off tomorrow, Monday, March 19 with the qualifying round at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium.
14 countries including host – Nigeria, are expected to compete in the $20,000 prize money tournament listed by the Professional Squash Association (PSA).
Already, eight players have been seeded in the men’s event while four women including Nigeria’s Yemisi Olatunji made the seeding list.
The qualifying round will herald the commencement of the championship with players jostling for the four slots available in the main draw of the men and women events.
Babatunde Ajagbe is the only Nigerian starting his campaign from the main draw in the men’s event while Olatunji will lead eight other Nigeria players to start their campaign from the main draw of the women’s event.
Egyptian players dominated the eight-man men’s seeding list with Karim Ali Fathi topping the list while Czech Republic’s Eva Fertekova tops the four-man women’s seeding list.
Four qualifiers are expected to break into the main draw from the qualifying round in the men’s category while four will also make it to the women’s division.
Most of the top players are already in Lagos in readiness for the main draw scheduled to begin on Wednesday, March 21.
The world ranking event would afford the players to amass points for their global rating.
The men’s category will share $15,000 while the women will be aiming for the $5000 purse.
With foreigners most times dominating the men’s event, local players are eager to turn the tide this year and they have started their preparation in readiness to claim the titles.
Aside top playing nations like France and Egypt, other nations listed for the six-day tournament include England, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, Ireland, Iraq, South Africa, Belgium, United States, Pakistan, India and Czech Republic.
The men will share $15,000 while the women will be aiming for the $5000 purse for the tournament.
The PSA-sanctioned tournament is funded by the Lagos State Government and it is being organized by the Lagos State Squash Association (LSSA) and supported by the Nigeria Squash Federation (NSF).
Jubilation over the qualification was tempered for some fans by the World Cup draws. Nigeria was drawn with Argentina, Iceland and Croatia in Group D, which some have called the ‘Group of death’. Russia 2018 will mark the fifth time Nigeria would face Argentina at the World Cup – after meetings in 1994 (USA), 1998 (France), 2002 (Korea-Japan) and 2014 (Brazil).
In August, Odunayo Adekuoroye made the nation proud at the World Wrestling Championship event in Paris, France. The 2014 Commonwealth games champion claimed a silver medal and became the first African woman to win a medal at the tournament. Nigeria also recorded another success in August after winning the bid to host the Africa Senior Wrestling Championship.
The hosting of the National Badminton Championships (in Lagos and Katsina states) in November was another success Nigeria recorded in 2017.
D’Tigress Win FIBA Afrobasket
In the basketball world, Nigeria’s senior national women’s basketball team D’Tigress defeated their Senegalese rivals in August to win the 2017 FIBA Women’s Afrobasket. Barely one month after, the men’s senior national team failed to defend their championship title as they lost to Tunisia who claimed the 2017 Men’s Afrobasket title.
Meanwhile, table tennis professional Aruna Quadri defied all odds in October to win the Polish Open. The 29-year-old who has been listed among the World Top 20 players defeated Japan’s Kaii Yoshida in a tough contest to become the first African to win an ITTF title outside the continent.
Another resounding success was recorded by Nigeria Women’s Bobsled team who qualified for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. The trio of Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere, and Akuoma Omeoga, wrote their names in the history books in November by becoming the first African team to qualify for the bobsled category, after completing the required five races.
The sports federations elections were also some of the events that got Nigerians talking in 2017. While some of the polls went smoothly, others were reportedly marred with irregularities and as such, generated various controversies.
The crisis in some of the groups – including the Athletics Federation of Nigeria and the Nigeria Basketball Federation – seemed to have affected the nation’s performances at the London Olympics and FIBA Afrobasket.
Poor Outing At IAAF World Championships
The country, however, had a poor outing during the IAAF World Championships at the London Olympic Stadium in August. The quartet of – Abike Egbeniyi, Patience Okon-George, Glory Nathaniel and Yinka Ajayi – made it to the final of the women’s 4x400m, but finished fifth behind their Great Britain and American rivals among others.
Far from the sporting events in Nigeria, here are some of the notable happenings in the global world of sports.
Mayweather vs Mcgregor Bout
US’ Floyd Mayweather extended his perfect career record to 50 fights unbeaten in August following his victory over mixed martial arts champion Conor Mcgregor in the much-anticipated crossover bout in the 10th round.
According to reports, the cross-combat super fight is the second richest boxing bout in history, after generating 4.3 million pay-per-view buys in North America. Only one other fight — Mayweather’s 2015 bout with Manny Pacquiao — more by racking up 4.6 million buys to earn around $600 million.
WBA and IBO champion Anthony Joshua (AJ) knocked out experienced Wladimir Klitschko to win the World Heavyweight title in April. The 28-year-old waited till the 11th round to earn the victory in what was a highly combative fight.
Filipino senator and boxer Manny Pacquiao suffered a shock defeat to Australia’s Jeff Horn in a bloody Brisbane battle in July.
Pacquiao who is one of the finest boxers of his generation paid the price for a slow start while Horn claimed a unanimous 12-round decision to win the WBO world welterweight title in front of 50,000 fans
Rafael Nadal won his third US Open title and 16th Grand Slam crown in September with a rout of South African giant Kevin Anderson, while 11-month sidelined Sloane Stephens clinched her first Grand Slam title after trashing fellow American Madison Keys.
Swiss maestro Roger Federer thrashed Croat Marin Cilic to become the first man to win eight Wimbledon singles title in July, just as brave Garbine Muguruza stunned experienced Venus Williams to claim her maiden Wimbledon crown.
World Cup: there were intriguing events this year as it relates to the qualification and draws for the Russia 2018 World Cup. Nigeria and Argentina were drawn in the same group for a record fifth time while Italy and Netherlands missed out of the tournament.
In Africa, the Pharaohs of Egypt qualified for World Cup in October since 1990 while Morocco also qualified for the first time since 19 years ago in November. However, African giants such as Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Cameroon were unable to seal their spots at the tournament.
Retirements: 2017 was a great year for some players who believed it was time to sit back and get some rest after several years of hard work. The duo of Argen Robben (Netherlands) and Gianluigi Buffon (Italy) quit international duties in October and November respectively, following their countries’ failure to qualify for World Cup.
Those who bowed out of professional football are Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso (Bayern Munich, March); Italy’s Francesco Totti (AS Roma, May); German defender Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich, May); and Ballon d’Or winner Kaka (Orlando City, December).
The highpoints of football awards in 2017 cut across the FIFA awards and the Ballon d’Or honours. Portugal and Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo won the Best FIFA Men’s Player of the Year and the Ballon d’Or awards in October and December respectively.
Real boss Zinedine Zidane also beat Chelsea’s Antonio Conte and Juventus’s Massimiliano Allegri to claim the corresponding Manager of the Year award, while Barcelona’s Lieke Martens won the Best FIFA Women’s Player of the Year title.
Transfers: Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) shock the football world in August with the signing of Neymar from Barcelona. PSG signed the Brazilian forward for a record fee of €222million and also signed Kylian Mbappe for €180million.
NotableEvents/ moments: 2017 is a year that Real Madrid and their fans will not forget so soon when they won the UEFA Champions League back-to-back. While Zinedine Zidane also became one of the first club managers to win the title as a player and a coach, Ronaldo became the first player to ever score in all six Champions League group games in one season in December.
In December, Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane broke Alan Shearer’s 22-year-old record for most goals in a calendar year with his 37th goal when his side trash Southampton 5-2 in December. Slovakian Marek Hamsik also overtook Diego Maradona as Napoli’s all-time record goalscorer with his 116th goal in all competitions on December 23.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is to promote fan participation in Olympic sports at festivals held in parallel with 2018 Winter Games, the global body said on Friday.
“For the Pyeongchang Games, we have been putting together a pilot project… to celebrate the Games at a local level,” IOC associate director John MacLeod told a congress of national Olympic committees in Prague.
He said seven countries — Belgium, Croatia, Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Slovenia — would open sport parks inspired by Olympic venues under the guidance of the Czech Republic, which originally came up with the idea for the Sochi Olympics in 2014.
An EU member of 10.6 million people, the Czech Republic registered more than 400,000 sports fans trying their hand at biathlon, curling or snowboarding, or just watching the Sochi Games on large screens in a park in central Prague in 2014.
Two years later, more than a million sports lovers made it to four summer Olympic parks across the country at the time of the Rio Games. Several Czech athletes came to meet them after returning from Brazil.
“The Czech example is something that we want to replicate across the world,” said MacLeod.
He said the goal was to “celebrate your athletes’ achievements when they return home, promote sport participation within your youth population and provide a platform for… sponsors to activate at a local level in a better way”.
Czech Olympic Committee head Jiri Kejval said the local committee had registered interest from other continents too.
“We firmly believe this will spread,” he told the Czech news agency CTK.
“Everyone watches TV and feels tempted to try it. So you have to do something to bring it to the people, to show them the sports, and to allow them to support their athletes together with others,” he added.
North Korea protested on Thursday that its sports activities were being blocked as a result of US-led sanctions, just days after Australia denied visas to North Korean football players.
The nuclear-armed North is subject to a host of UN sanctions for its weapons programme, which include restrictions on imports of sporting equipments like skis, yachts, mountaineering boots and even billiard tables.
But in a statement carried by Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the North’s National Sports Guidance Committee claimed that the sanctions were isolating North Korea from international sports competitions.
“Due to the despicable and relentless pressure of the US, the regular leg matches set to be played in Pyongyang according to agreements with some countries are being delayed for more than a year,” a committee spokesman said.
The spokesman noted that Australia had “even denied entry” to North Korea’s U-19 team, preventing them from taking part in the Asian Football Confederation championship qualifiers in November.
“International sports organizations should defend the ideal of sports to promote peace,” he added.
Australia earlier this month said it had banned North Korean athletes from entering the country as allowing them in would contradict Canberra’s staunch opposition to Pyongyang’s nuclear programme.
Thursday’s statement comes as South Korea awaits Pyongyang’s confirmation that it will take part in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
A pair of North Korean figure skaters last month won a qualifying tournament in Germany, securing one of five spots to compete in next year’s Winter Games.
North Korea has not officially commented on its participation yet, its International Olympic Committee member Chang Ung earlier hinted the issue could be reviewed once North Korean athletes are qualified.
Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has reiterated his commitment to promoting sports at the grass roots in the state.
He said this during a boxing talent hunt organised by the speaker of the Enugu State House of Assembly, Edward Ubosi, for public secondary school students across the 17 local governments areas in the state.
The talent hunt is part of efforts towards actualising the state’s Vision 2020 which is targeted at promoting boxing by harnessing young talent in the grassroots.
While congratulating the 85 participants from the 17 local government areas, Governor Ugwuanyi said his administration would continue engaging the youth in different sports activities and create more jobs for them.
Out of the 85 participants, 26 got one-year scholarships while the rest got a bursary award.
Members of the State House of Assembly and the state executive were among those who were at the event.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has declared that schools in Delta State must have provisions for sporting facilities before they can be approved to function.
He made the pronouncement while fielding questions from journalist during the quarterly press briefing at the State House in Asaba, the Delta State capital.
Okowa noted that the desire of his administration was for the state to constantly maintain its leading role in sporting activities and that according to him, could only be achieved through grooming future champions from the primary school level.
He, therefore, noted that any school applying for either registration or accreditation must have sports facilities.
Citing the Channels International Kids Cup as an example, Governor Iowa added that the state is not interested in acquiring sportsmen but rather, grooming them by catching them young.
President of Nigeria Badminton Federation Justice Danlami Senchi has defeated the incumbent president of Badminton Confederation of Africa Mr Larry Keys of South Africa to emerge the new leader of the body.
At the elections which was held in Gold Coast, Australia, Senchi received a total 63 votes as against 32 votes that was gathered by Keys.
According to the newly elected president, the victory is for all lovers of badminton in Africa and beyond.
“Well let me give Allah the Glory for journey mercies because it’s a long trip leaving my continent, Africa, to come contest for this big position. It’s also interesting for you to know that I have dedicated victory to all lovers of badminton even my friend Mr Larry keys of South Africa for all he’s been doing our confederation, BCA, I salute you,” Senchi said.
“Finally, I believe it’s going to be a good era for badminton in Africa, thus, I urged you to support me.”