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Weightlifters Decry State Of Gymnasium

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Some weightlifters at the weekend decried the poor state of the gymnasium at the National Stadium, Lagos, and implored the National Sports Commission (NSC) to rehabilitate the facility.

In separate interviews with newsmen in Lagos, the weightlifters said that the state of disrepair of the gymnasium was adversely affecting their training.

Gladys Ezenwa (48kg) said that the state of the facilities was discouraging and a disincentive to the athletes.

Ezenwa said that a component of the weights, called babble, had become outdated and risky.

“The babble is bad, it even pulls off the iron rod when we drop it after lifting.

“We are putting our lives at risk by using those babbles; there is no toilet, water, light and even no source of ventilation, yet we train under this deplorable condition,’’ she said.

According to her, training at the gym during the raining season is also a nightmare as the whole place leaks.

“The broken floor also creates puddles when it rains,’’ Ezenwa said.

She noted that the bulk of Nigeria weightlifters, including past champions, were based in Lagos and that the gym needed to be upgraded.

Another weightlifter, Taiwo Olabanji (69kg), who corroborated what Ezenwa said, also complained of irregular competitions due to lack of sponsors.

“Competitions are major criteria for upgrading a weightlifter’s record because it’s an avenue to gain exposure and experience. But the opportunities are not realisable.

“The foundation has to be solid if we must produce good results, so the sports ministry should please come to our aid so that the sport will not die,’’ he said.

Olabanji said that some young athletes had been discouraged because of these problems, adding “some of us are still there because of the love and interest we have in the game’’.

Coach Obeh Johnson, however, urged the Minister of Sports and Chairman NSC, Ibrahim Bio, to fulfill the promise of rehabilitating the gymnasium that he made to athletes during his facility tour after assuming office.

“I am using this opportunity to remind the minister that the gymnasium needs urgent attention, especially with the rainy season; its really affecting the training of athletes.’’

Johnson said that two major international championships, the Youth Olympic in August and Commonwealth Games in October were around the corner and training should have started in earnest.

Bio was at the National Stadium and Games village in Lagos in April on a facility visit.

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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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