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34th CBN Tennis Open: Babalola Chases Imonite’s Record

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The 34th edition of the just-concluded
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Senior Tennis Open took a different turn as it
recorded come-back winners in the Men’s and Ladies singles events.
The tournament, organised by the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF) was
held between May 3 and May 12 at the National Stadium, Lagos.
Favourites Abulmumuni Babalola, seeded two and Fatima Abinu, seeded one,
returned as the Men’s and Ladies Singles champions respectively at the end of
the competition.

Babalola beat Shehu Lawal, seeded three,
6-3, 6-4 to lift the Men’s Singles trophy while Abinu defeated unseeded Sarah
Adegoke, current African U-14 champion, 6-4, 6-3 to lift the Ladies Singles trophy.

Babalola had earlier won the competition
three times, in 2002, 2006 and 2009 to record the second highest winner after
legend David Imonite who had won it seven times.

The annual competition began in 1979 with
Kehinde Ajayi as the maiden champion who also retained the trophy in 1980.

Remi Osho dethroned Ajayi in 1981, but
Imonite took over in 1982 and won it three times consecutively.

He was dethroned by Sadiq Abdullahi in 1985
who also retained the trophy in 1986, but Imonite in 1987 dethroned Abdullahi
and came back to win the competition again three times consecutively.

Imonite was dethroned by Segun Balogun in
1990 before he won it for the last time in 1991 to complete his seven times
record.

“It will be difficult for me to break
Imonite’s record, he has won it three consecutive times twice, but I have not.

“I will need to break the three times
consecutive record first before meeting his record of seven times champion,”
Babalola told newsmen after defeating Shehu.

Tournament’s referee, Saidu Musa, described
Babalola’s performance in the tournament as ‘really a come-back one’ as he
played the game with his heart.

“I commend his effort. He played the game
with much determination and zeal, he was more reserved and did not allow for
detraction throughout his matches,’’ he said.

In the Ladies, Abinu has only tallied with
the record of Osaro Amadin who has won it four times but was yet to meet the
record of Veronica Oyibokia won has won it record eight times.

Anne Abimiku, was the maiden champion in
1979 and retained it the following year before Esther Onyekwelu dethroned her
in 1981.

Rolake Olagbegi dethroned Onyekwelu in 1982
but Onyekwelu returned in 1983, only for Oyibokia to win it four record times
between 1984 and 1987.

Oyibokia was dethroned by Nosa Imafidon in
1988, came back in 1988 and won it three consecutive times between 1989 and
1991 to complete her seven year record.

Amadin achieved her four times record by
winning it in 1997 and three times running from 2003 to 2005.

Abinu first won it in 2007, she was
dethroned by Christy Agugbom in 2008 but regained her title in 2009.

She successfully defended her title in
2010, was again dethroned in 2011 by Biola Akewula, but came back to win it in
2012 to complete her four times winner.

“I am looking forward to meet Oyibokia’s
record; I still have age on my side.

“This remains the source of my confidence
to meet that record and even beat it,’’ Abinu said.

Another female player who made record in
the competition was tennis prodigy, Adegoke.

Unseeded Adegoke stunned spectators as she
rode on the back of other seeded players to qualify for the final.

Adegoke’s coach, George Odiong, said that
Adegoke would definitely emerge the tournament’s champion next year

The Men’s and Ladies Singles champions went
home with N600, 000 each while their runners-up went home with N400,000 each.

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NYG: Rivers Basketball Team Embarks On Preparations

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The Rivers State Basketball Association,has commenced  preparations for the forthcoming 2021 edition of the  National Youth Games (NYG) scheduled to hold September, this year.
This was disclosed by  Head Coach of the body, Dagogo  Okumgba, yesterday during an exclusive interview with Tidesports, at the state basketball court.
According to him, the team has commenced the preparation, ahead of the upcoming sports fiesta to build and fortify its athletes for the task ahead  and other engagements that may likely come up in the future.
Coach Okumgba explained that the athletes were in high spirit and are doing well in their preparation for the competition, saying that they (athletes) would compete honourably, when the fiesta eventually gets underway.
“The athletes are working assiduously to ensure they compete favourably and are poised for victory at the NYG scheduled to be hosted by Ilorin,  Kwara State,”  Okumgba said.
However, the coach feared team sports might not participate in the competition, as he lamented their (team’s) absence at the National Sports Festival (NSF) held in Edo early this year.
“I think the decision was made as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic to reduce the number of athletes to take part in the festival. I don’t know, if what happened then will repeat itself, considering the third wave of the virus,” he said.
He urged his athletes to keep faith and keep the fire burning, adding that they should not relent in their preparation for the competition, whether or not they take part in the fiesta, the preparation will definitely keep them fit for other engagements.
“ It is better to be ready than not, just as the motto of the Boys Scout, l believe early preparation, being prepared at all times, is one major  key to success,” he concluded.

By: Nancy Briggs

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Covid-19 Scare: Team Nigeria Undergoes Daily Tests In Tokyo

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As Covid-19 cases continue to rise in Tokyo, venue of the 2020 Olympics, Team Nigeria’s camp has resorted to daily testing of the members of their contingent.
Tidesports source gathered that there had been daily reports of athletes and officials contracting Covid-19 at the Olympics Games Village in Tokyo.
The Tidesports also reported that a Nigerian official in his 60s was hospitalised after contracting the virus.
One of the athletes, who spoke with our correspondent on the condition of anonymity, said athletes and officials were taking necessary precautions to ensure they did not contract the virus.
According to him, this includes daily testing and staying away from the public.
“We are doing everything that needs to be done not to contract the virus. We test daily and don’t mingle,” he said.
Another athlete, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity, said it was not the type of Olympics she would have loved to compete in due to the deadly virus. “It has not been easy here trying to adjust to the high temperatures. Covid-19 here is real. Athletes, particularly me, are very careful. Life isn’t easy here at all. Not the kind of Olympics I would have loved to take part in but in all, I’m glad to be here,” she said.
Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Olympics Committee, Femi Adetula, said the unnamed Nigerian official was already getting better but declined to name the official, saying the NOC was respecting his rights.
“It’s been confirmed that an official contracted the virus. He is in isolation, receiving treatment and he is doing fine. In a matter of days, the official will be out of isolation because of the recovery rate,” he said.

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NBA: Milwaukee Star Anxious To Visit Nigeria – Wants To Learn About His Roots

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Milwaukee Bucks All StarGiannis Antetokounmpo wants to visit Nigeria soon and  cannot wait to learn more about his roots.
Antetokounmpo, who produced a performance for the ages to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to their first NBA title since 1971 after a 105-98 win over the Phoenix Suns last Monday, was born in and represents Greece.
“Obviously, a lot of people don’t know where I’m from. A lot of people think my mom or my dad is from Greece, but no,. Both of my parents are black. Both of my parents are Nigerians.”  Antetokounmpo said.
“I grew up in a Nigerian home, Obviously, I was born in Greece and went to school in Greece. But at the end of the day when I go home, there is no Greek culture. It’s straight-up Nigerian culture. It’s about discipline, it’s about respecting your elders, having morals,” he said.
Antetokounmpo,  who said his original surname  Adetokunbo  was  mispelt  at the Greek Passport office,  hasn’t traced his roots in person yet, but hopes to visit Nigeria either this summer or next summer ,  revealing that he got his Nigerian passport in 2015.
“I want to see where my family comes from, where my mom was raised, see my family, see where my dad was raised. That is very important. I hope my kids can do the same thing for me,” Antetokounmpo said.
Meanwhile, Basketball legend and NBA Hall of Famer, Hakeem Olajuwon said Nigerians were proud of Giannis Antetokounmpo despite the Milwaukee Bucks All-Star representing Greece.
“I’m sure Nigerians are very proud of him, especially because of the way he has conducted himself and how he is dominating the league,” Olajuwon said. He has accomplished a great deal in such a short period of time,” he said.

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