The Sports Minister, Sunday Dare assured both sprinters during the Olympic Games that their medical bills would be footed by the Government.
In fulfillment of this promise, on Wednesday, both athletes received the sum of Two Million, One Hundred and Seventy Thousand Naira each from the Ministry of Sports being the costs incurred during their treatments and rehabilitation.
The recipients in their response thanked the Sports Minister and the Ministry for fulfilling the promise made to them, saying this will boost their preparations for the new season.
February’s Beijing Winter Olympics will be held without overseas spectators and athletes must be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus or face 21 days’ quarantine, the International Olympic Committee said.
The measures, which do allow spectators who are living in mainland China, were revealed with the Games just four months away and after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics similarly juggled with how to go ahead safely during the pandemic.
The Tokyo Games, which were postponed by a year because of the health crisis, mostly took place without any spectators to prevent infections.
Another difference from Tokyo will be that all participants must be vaccinated or will need to do a 21-day quarantine on arrival in the Chinese capital. Athletes who can provide a “justified medical exemption” will have their cases considered.
All attendees will enter a strict “bubble” as soon as they land that covers Games-related areas and stadiums as well as accommodation, transport, catering and the opening and closing ceremonies.
The decisions, announced by the IOC but taken by Chinese organisers, are a foretaste of a package of measures to be released in October designed to prevent the Games from turning into a source of contamination.
All domestic and international games participants and workforce in the bubble, known as the “closed-loop management system”, will be tested daily.
The 2022 Beijing Olympics, which is facing calls for a boycott from rights groups, is scheduled for February 4-20.
The IOC said that allowing domestic fans “will facilitate the growth of winter sports in China by giving those spectators a first-hand Olympic and Paralympic experience of elite winter sports, as well as bringing a favourable atmosphere to the venues”.
Speaking at Beijing’s Olympic Park on Thursday, locals said that safety must come first, even if that means foreign fans missing out.
“I think it’s the right thing to do because foreign spectators can watch it broadcast live,” said Zhang Xinyu, 29.
“But if there are a lot of people travelling, it won’t be safe for either the athletes or the foreign guests.”
China, where the coronavirus emerged towards the end of 2019, has wrestled down the number of local infections to a trickle by deploying aggressive, mass testing and keeping its borders extremely tight.
The much-awaited paralympic games are set to begin as the opening ceremonies commence today.
Twenty-two athletes will be representing Team Nigeria in the Tokyo 2020 games this year.
It would be recalled that the last edition, at Rio 2016 in Brazil, was the most successful outing for Team Nigeria, which became Africa’s best team and 17th overall on the medal table with eight gold, two silver and two bronze medals.
In Tokyo, Team Nigeria Paralympians will participate in four events: Para Powerlifting, Para-Athletics, Para-Table Tennis and Para-Rowing.
The first Paralympics debut for Team Nigeria was far back Barcelona 92, with six athletes who came back with three gold medals.
Nigeria’s largest contingent to the games was in Sydney 2000 with 31 Paralympic Athletes when Team Nigeria returned home with 13 medals.
The team captain, Lucy Ejike (44) who would be featuring in her sixth Paralympics after making her debut at Sydney 2000, has promised that the contingent would surpass the record at Rio 2016.
Ejike won a medal in each of the games she has been in, winning gold medals in 2004, 2008 and 2016 and silver medals in 2000 and 2012.
The 22 athletes on the team are:
Flora Ugwunwa – Athletics – F Iyiazi Njideka. – Athletics – F Lauritta Onye. – Athletics – F Nwaozu Chituru – Athletics – F Galadima Suwaibidu – Athletics – M Tijani Latifat. – Powerlifting – F Ejike Lucy. – Powerlifting – F Ibrahim Mujinat – Powerlifting – F Omolayo Bose. – Powerlifting – F Obiji Lovelyn. – Powerlifting – F Oluwafemiayo Folashade -Powerlifting- F Okpala Pauline – Powerlifting – F Ibrahim Dauda – Powerlifting – M Yakubu Adesokan – Powerlifting – M Innocent Nnamdi – Powerlifting – M Ijeoma Kingsley – Rowing – M Fairh Obazuaye – Table Tennis – F Tajudeen Agunbiade – Table Tennis – M Olufemi Alabi Olabiyi – Table Tennis – M Ahmed Koleosho – Table Tennis – M Ogunkunle Isau – Table Tennis – M Farinoye Victor – Table Tennis – M
With less than a week to the commencement of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, Team Nigeria athletes have assured supporters of an impressive outing in Tokyo.
Speaking to journalists on Sunday In Abuja, the Paralympics Captain, Lucy Ejike said, “we have been training seriously to make sure we meet up with the standard we set at previous games. Everything is going on well. We are confident we will bring glory to Nigeria. We have world records, so we hope to maintain the records and create new ones”.
Speaking in a similar vein, Para Powerlifter, Nnamdi Innocent, expressed appreciation to the Sports Minister for motivating the team.
“We are grateful to the Minister for his support and encouragement, what he did for us during the lockdown will motivate us to excel in Tokyo. We have many world records and our target is to go there and make Nigeria proud,” he said.
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics games will be Nigeria’s 8th consecutive appearance since her maiden appearance at Barcelona 1992.
Nigeria had her most successful outing at Rio 2016, finishing as Africa’s best team and 17th overall in the world on the medals table with eight gold, two silver and two bronze medals.
Nigeria will participate in four events at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics viz; Powerlifting, Para-Athletics, Para-Table Tennis and Para-Rowing.
The team is expected to depart for Japan this week.
Brazil’s Italo Ferreira claimed Olympic surfing’s first-ever gold medal on Tuesday, beating Japan’s Kanoa Igarashi in the final.
Ferreira, who learned to surf standing on the foam box his father sold fish from, snapped his board on the first wave and had to wait in the sea for a replacement.
But he recovered to score 15.14 to Igarashi’s 6.60 at Tsurigasaki Beach, around 100km (60 miles) east of Tokyo.
Igarashi had shocked world number one Gabriel Medina in the semi-finals, landing a stunning aerial move late in the contest to beat the Brazilian.
But the Japanese rider, whose father grew up surfing at the same beach, could not find a way past an imperious Ferreira in the final, as the 2019 world champion added the first-ever Olympics surfing gold medal to his collection.
Australia’s beat Medina to claim the bronze.
In the women’s final, American world number one Carissa Wright was set to face off against unheralded South African Bianca Buitendag for the gold.
Japan’s Amuro Tsuzuki beat Caroline Marks of the US in the bronze-medal match.
The medal events — originally scheduled to take place on Wednesday — were moved forward to Tuesday to take advantage of favourable wave conditions.
France’s bid for men’s Olympic football glory got off to a nightmare start with a 4-1 defeat by Mexico on Thursday, while Richarlison scored a hat-trick as reigning champions Brazil beat Germany in a six-goal thriller.
Sylvain Ripoll’s France are looking for a first Olympic medal since winning gold in 1984, but collapsed in the second half at Tokyo Stadium.
“We’re obviously disappointed with the result but also with the balance of our play,” said former Lorient boss Ripoll.
“To compete, we would’ve needed a big performance, but that wasn’t the case.”
Mexico took the lead less than two minutes after the break through Alexis Vega, before Sebastian Cordova doubled their advantage in the 55th minute.
The 35-year-old captain Andre-Pierre Gignac, whose last game for the French senior team was the Euro 2016 final loss to Portugal, pulled one back from the penalty spot with 21 minutes remaining.
But any thoughts of a comeback were quashed as Uriel Antuna and Eduardo Aguirre netted late on for 2012 champions Mexico.
France now face a tough task to get out of Group A with a top-two finish, ahead of games against Covid-hit South Africa on Sunday and hosts Japan on July 28.
“The first thing we now have to do is digest this disappointment,” added Ripoll. “We only have two days. There’s no time to waste.”
Japan saw off South Africa, who had two players test positive for Covid-19 on Sunday, 1-0 thanks to Takefusa Kubo’s second-half strike.
Brazil, who won gold for the first time when inspired by Neymar on home soil five years ago in Rio, downed Germany 4-2 in a dramatic match which saw forward Richarlison net a first-half hat-trick.
The Everton man scored three times inside the first half an hour, but Matheus Cunha missed a penalty and Germany then threatened an unlikely second-half comeback.
Bayer Leverkusen’s Nadiem Amiri pulled one back before the hour mark, and although Maximilian Arnold was sent off shortly afterwards, substitute Ragnar Ache cut the deficit to one goal with seven minutes of the 90 left.
But it was another Leverkusen player, Paulinho, who came off the bench and put the match to bed for Brazil in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
Ivory Coast also picked up three points in Group D as AC Milan’s Franck Kessie netted the match-clinching goal in a 2-1 victory over Saudi Arabia.
Spain struggled in Sapporo, as a team featuring six players who reached the Euro 2020 semi-finals dominated possession but created few chances in a 0-0 draw with Egypt.
The closest they came to a goal was when Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos, who recently spent two seasons on loan at Arsenal, crashed a first-half shot against the post.
Spain, winners on home soil in 1992, next take on Australia in three days’ time before their final Group C match with Argentina.
Australia took early control in the table, as goals from Lachlan Wales and Marco Tilio saw them beat 10-man Argentina 2-0.
New Zealand made a successful start in Group B as Burnley striker Chris Wood, one of the three over-age players in the squad, secured a 1-0 victory over South Korea in Kashima with his 72nd-minute winner.
It was their first-ever win in Olympic football, having managed just one draw in each of the 2008 and 2012 tournaments.
An own goal saw Romania edge out Honduras 1-0 in the group’s other game.
The public will be urged not to line the route of the Olympic marathon over fears that crowds of fans could spread the coronavirus, Tokyo 2020 organisers said Tuesday.
With less than three weeks before the pandemic-postponed Games begin, concern is growing over a rebound in virus cases in Japan.
“In view of the current Covid-19 situation, it will be necessary to reduce the risk of infection by restricting the movement of members of the public,” organisers said in a statement about the marathon and race walk events.
“It has therefore been decided to ask the public to refrain from spectating along the course.”
The marathon was at the centre of controversy in the original build-up to the 2020 Games, when it was moved to northern Sapporo from Tokyo to avoid the capital’s punishing summer heat.
The women’s and men’s marathon finals are among the last events at this summer’s Games and will take place on August 7 and 8.
At a marathon rehearsal event in Sapporo in May, security guards stood with signs around their necks asking people to “please refrain from watching the race” to prevent infections.
That event had unfolded in a muted atmosphere, with scattered onlookers in facemasks clapping but refraining from cheering, to avoid spreading droplets.
Organisers on Tuesday vowed to work with local authorities “to ensure a safe and secure Tokyo 2020 Games for all participants and for the citizens of Sapporo and Hokkaido”.
But with Covid-19 cases on the rise and fears over the spread of new coronavirus variants, Japan’s government is this week expected to extend virus restrictions in several parts of the country.
The current measures, in place in Tokyo and Sapporo, cap spectators at sports events at 5,000 and limit the opening hours of bars and restaurants.
Japan’s Covid-19 outbreak has not been as severe as in some countries, with around 14,800 deaths, but experts say another wave could stretch medical services as the Olympics begin.
For ticketed Olympic events, Games organisers last month set a limit of 10,000 domestic fans, or half of each venue’s capacity. Overseas fans have already been barred.
But a rise in infections has forced a rethink — with Games president Seiko Hashimoto recently warning that a closed-door Olympics remains an option.
Participants have already begun arriving in Japan, with 11,000 Olympic athletes from around 200 countries set to take part.
On Monday, a Japanese newspaper reported that fans would likely be banned from the July 23 opening ceremony over virus fears, but a reduced number of VIPs and Olympic officials would be able to attend.
Fans are likely to be banned from the Tokyo 2020 opening ceremony over virus fears, but a reduced number of VIPs and Olympic officials will be able to attend, a Japanese newspaper reported.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) representatives, foreign dignitaries, sponsors and others connected to the Games will be allowed into the National Stadium to watch the July 23 ceremony, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper said late on Monday.
But under plans currently being discussed, fans would be locked out as organisers rethink attendance limits, as concern grows over rising virus cases in Tokyo.
The report, which cited several unnamed government sources, said organisers are working to whittle down the expected 10,000 “Olympic family” members to a level the Japanese public would find acceptable.
“Some people in government are concerned that the public won’t accept them being given special treatment,” it said.
“They’d like the number of people attending to be reduced to the hundreds.”
Games organisers last month set a limit of 10,000 domestic fans, or half of each venue’s capacity. Overseas fans have already been barred.
But a rise in infections has forced a rethink, with Games president Seiko Hashimoto recently warning that a closed-door Olympics remains an option.
The government is this week expected to extend anti-virus measures in Tokyo and elsewhere, with a decision on Olympic fans to follow.
Organisers were considering banning spectators from events in larger venues and in the evening, said the newspaper.
The announcement of the results of a ticket lottery for oversubscribed events has been pushed back to Saturday — less than two weeks before the opening ceremony.
Japan’s Covid-19 outbreak has not been as severe as in some countries, with around 14,800 deaths, but experts say another wave could stretch medical services as the Olympics begin.
The Olympic torch is due to arrive in Tokyo on Friday, but there will be no relay on public roads in the capital this weekend, organisers said, with short fan-free ceremonies planned instead.
Several legs of the torch relay, which began in March, have been taken away from public roads to prevent crowds from gathering.
2019 African Games table tennis champion, Olajide Omotayo has signed a one-year deal to join a French Pro A team, PPC Villeneuve, for the 2021/2022 season.
Omotayo spent over six years playing in the Italian Table Tennis Super League. The Nigerian who is set for a debut outing at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will join Egypt’s Omar Assar who also plies his trade in the French top league.
Announcing the signing of the 26-year-old Nigerian on its social media handle at the weekend, the club described Omotayo as a fighter who they hope would help the team to fight for the top spot in the elite French league.
The club statement reads, “Olajide Omotayo from Nigeria, 26 and ranked 92 in the world will be a formidable opponent for our competitors. Little known in France, it will be interesting to follow and his fight spirit will be a quality appreciated by the public in France.”
Omotayo will be joined by other members of the team which include French junior international Jules Cavaillé and experienced Russian star Alexey Liventsov while the team will be coached by Admir Duranspahic, who replaced departing coach Lepage Cedric.
An excited Omotayo who last played for TT Genova in Italy before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has described the move to France as a dream come true for him.
“This is a big move for me having played in Italy for over six years. Now I will have the chance to play against some of the best players as well as improve my game. It is the dream of every player to play in the top league in Europe and France is among the top three leagues in the world, I cannot wait to start playing because I know my game will improve and I will also have the opportunity to be exposed to top-class coaching in a good club,” he said.
The 2012 National Sports Festival gold medalist expressed appreciation to the management of PPC Villeneuve for the confidence to sign him and he promises to repay their trust with good performance in the league.
As the battle for a place among the athletes at the Olympic trials continues today, the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development has assured Nigerians of a better outing at the Olympic Games holding in July, in Tokyo Japan.
The Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Engr. Nebeolisa Anako gave the assurance on Sunday at the Sports Complex of the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, venue of the Athletics Trials for the Olympic qualification.
According to him, the trials are part of the local camping, an initiative of the ministry to enhance performance of the athletes and also a platform to select the best athletes that will represent the country at the Games.
“So far some athletes have qualified from the trials and some records broken. With the results seen so far, combined with those from the last National festival, we are hopeful that the athletes are going to perform better than the previous Olympics,” he said.
Speaking further, the Permanent Secretary disclosed that local camping of athletes has commenced and will continue till the time of departure to Japan.
Engr. Nebeolisa stated further that there are arrangements for more camping of the athletes so as to keep them in top shape before the beginning of the games.