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Ekeji Challenges Sportsmen, Commends Delta Govt

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The Director-General of the National Sports Commission, Dr Patrick Ekeji, has described sports as a money spinning career.

Ekeji said this in Asaba at a reception organised by the Delta Government to honour the state’s contingent

to the 17th National Sports Festival held last month in Port Harcourt.

According to him, some sportsmen receive money equivalent to what some state executives receive.

He said that unless the athletes remained focused and dedicated they would not get to greater levels and advised them to exhibit humility, saying “humility pays.

“Do not allow your success get into your head because humility pays.” The director-general also implored those of them who had no formal education to obtain such education in spite of their stardom, harping on the need to always expand capacity through training and retraining programmes.

He commended the Delta Government for its support to sports, saying that without the support the athletes would be wasted.

He noted that since the creation of the state, the commission had always looked up to Delta to provide the bulk of sports men and officials for both national and international competitions.

The director-general appealed to the Delta Government to refurbish the College of Physical Education in the state. Meanwhile Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan has directed the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education to revive schools sports in all primary and secondary schools in the state.

Uduaghan said that there was the need to revive schools sports in the spirit of “catch them young” with a view to training them for future sports challenges.

He noted that during the Governor Osaigbovo Ogbamudia era in the then Bendel, athletes combined education in schools with sports. The governor said the motive was to change the strategy of the state in discovering, selecting, training and fielding athletes in future sports competitions.

“We have the facilities, men and women, as well as the manpower to achieve this.

“So with effect from the next academic session, we will introduce school cup and from the pool we get athletes that will be going for competitions,” he said.

The governor also said that bronze medal winners would receive N200,000 each while those who did not win any medal got N50,000 each.

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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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