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Mixed reactions Trail RSG’s Reward To Festival Athletes

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The recent award ceremony organised by Rivers State Government at the Alfred Diete Spiff athletes and coaches who won medals at the 16th National Sports Festival held in Kaduna tagged “KADA 2009” has started to receive mixed reactions. In his reactions, John Senibo, popularly known as Big John who featured in boxing event said that the value of the reward from the government would only discourage athletes in the state. According to him, it is far below the expectations of the athletes. “As far as I am concerned, this award or reward, anything they chose to call it, is discouraging because it is far below the expectations of the athletes, after all, most states who gave much more to their athletes are not as rich as our state”, he said. Big John added the most painful part was that government deliberately neglected and refused to reward those that did not win medals after all the sufferings most athletes went through in Kaduna . “It is very painful and annoying that the state ignored those who participated in the festival. It is not fair at all, at least they would have given them something, no matter how small in order to encourage them. You and I know that some persons lost their lives while competing in some of the events.” he stated. He continued that the state which is preparing to host the 17th edition of the NSF next year would have used the opportunity to encourage and motivate the athletes. Big John, who is also the state Amateur Boxing Champion used the forum to call on Sports council to provide boxing gym and kits to enable boxers train well in preparation for the NSF next year. The Chief coach of Karate Association, Kingsley Okwelle, popularly known as Grand Master, in reaction thanaked the government for fulfilling its promises. According to him, the gesture would spur the athletes to do more in subsequent competitions, especially the forthcoming sports festival. “I thanked God today and feel very happy, because government has finally rewarded the athletes that made the state proud, I know that this gesture would encourage them to do more.” He said. In his reaction, the chairman of Amatuer Atheltic Assocation (AAA) Chief Nemi Adoki, said he observed that the athletes were not happy, perhaps they felt the award ceremony was overdue and the reward too small for such a national competition. He expressed hope that the reward would encourage them to put in more effort in next year’s national sports festival to be hosted by the state. The Secretary to the State government Hon. Magnus Abe, who represented the governor at the award ceremony, advised athletes to see the reward as an appreciation for what they have done. Hon. Abe, advised them to take their sports seriously to enable them become the best in their various events. He said that what government did was to encourage them to do more. He further said that “there is no sports today that would not make you rich, so long as you are the best in that particularly event. “What government has given to you today will not make you a rich man or woman. What you need is to put in your best to make you be the best. “Those sportsmen you hear that are millionaries did not start one day they have start long ago”. he said. The athletes who were initially promised a scholarship blank cheque to any level at any part of the world especially, for gold medalists were rewarded with the cash prize of N300,000, N200,000 and N150,000 for gold, silver and bronze medal runners, respectively.

Tonye Orabere

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Athletics: Okagbare Begins Preparation For Tokyo 2020

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Blessing Okagbare, yesterday started her preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at the National Trials.
The opening day of the Tokyo 2020 National Trials will see Okagbare competing in the 100m against highly rated Grace Nwokocha
Okagbare, the 8th time national champions is the favourite to win the event again, but Grace Nwokocha remains one of her biggest threats.
The American-based track queen won the championship from 2009 to 2014 and returned to win the 2016 edition after missing out in 2015.
Despite her qualification for the Olympics, Okagbare will be hoping to continue her winning streak and go to the Olympics in high spirits.
Apart from the 100m finals expected to take place in the afternoon, there will be shotput men final with all eyes on  Chukwuebuka Enekwechi.

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LAA Holds Lucrative Track Meet, Next Week

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The Lagos State Athletics Association has announced it would be holding a lucrative Athletics Meet on Thursday, June 24, 2021, at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
Yussuf Alli, who is the Meet Director for the Lagos Open Athletics Championship, made the disclosure on Wednes-day even as he revealed that arrangements were in top gear to have an elite cast of athletes in the one-day meet.
According to Alli, the Lagos Open Athletics Championship will simultaneously serve as a qualifying window for the Tokyo Olympics as well as a preparatory event for athletes that have already qualified for the sporting showpiece.
“This is another fantastic window for those seeking to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics as well as those seeking quality competition to stay in shape for the Olympics,” Alli said.
“The Lagos State Athletics Association, which is one of the most vibrant in the country, is out to organise a world-class event that would be the talk of the town as we count down to Tokyo,”  he added.
The list of events to be competed for at the Lagos Open Athletics Championship include, the 5,000 meters, 400 meters hurdles, 100 meters, 800 meters, 400 meters and 100 meters.
There would also be quality action in the 4×100 meters open, 4×100 meters open and 4×400 meters mixed relay.
Long jump, High jump, Triple jump, Shot put as well as  4×100 secondary schools relay and 4×100 secondary schools relay have all been pencilled down for the maiden Lagos Open Athletics Champion-ship.
Organisers have assured that the top three finishers across all the events will receive handsome prizes for their efforts.

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S’ Falcons Bow To World Champions

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The Super Falcons of Nigeria lost 2-0 to world champions, USA, in their final Group game at the 2021 Summer Series in Texas, USA.
The result means the African champions failed to win any of their three matches at the invitational tourna-ment, drawing one and losing the other two.
Kristen Press gave the Americans the lead on the stroke of half time, and before Lyn Williams killed Falcons hope of getting a draw with the second goal on the dot of 90 minutes.
With the victory, the world number one has now gone 42 games without tasting a defeat .As for the Falcons, the aim of participating in the Summer Series was to prepare them for a crucial 2022 African Women’s Champion-ship eliminator against perennial rivals, Ghana in October.
The African Women’s Championship will serve as qualifiers for the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

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