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Under-Performing Sunshine Flickers Blame Astro Turf

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The performance of Sunshine Flickers at the IEI National Hockey League finals was hampered by their unfamiliarity with the astro turf, the team’s assistant coach Biodun Akinyemi has said.

The inaugural edition of the league which held on the astro turfs of the Abuja National Stadium’s Hockey Complex was concluded at the weekend.

The finals featured six teams/clubs in the women pool, after the Bayelsa Flickers and Lagos state failed to turn up, and eight clubs in the men’s category.

The Akure-based Sunshine Flickers garnered only three points from five matches after three draws and two losses, scoring two goals and conceding six to place seventh and out of title contention.

Akinyemi blamed his team’s performance on the fact that his players were unfamiliar with the astro-turf.

“We came third at the Southern Conference held in Lagos some weeks ago, and that shows that we are good too.

“But we played then on a synthetic turf, and over here we are playing on an astro-turf, which we are unfamiliar with,’’ he told newsmen.

Akinyemi said that apart from the turf, his players had been used to playing on hard ground and could not have mastered the use of the astro-turf in just a few days.

“This is a faster pitch than what we have been used to, and we were affected by the pitch.

“We couldn’t have done better than this, because we couldn’t prepare for this finals as we would have loved to, due to lack of funds,’’ he said.

The coach said his team could not get the needed funds to prepare and travel for the finals in Abuja.

“We didn’t get the money we asked for, and we managed from the little we have left over from the money used in going for the Lagos competition,’’ he said.

Akinyemi, however, said his team was not giving up the fight for now.

“It is normal that not all teams that have come here will win all their matches, but I am confident that we will get better because we are good and we have been improving with each game.

“I can assure you that there will be changes in our subsequent outings we want to strive to do better and avoid relegation. I am positive about that because we can do it,’’ he said.

Two of the clubs in the men’s pool of the IEI National Premier Hockey League were relegated to the lower league at the end of the finals.

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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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