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House Committee Assures NBBS On Funds Release

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The Chairman, House of
Representatives’ Committee on Sports, Godfrey Gaiya, has assured the Nigeria Basketball Federation (NBBF) that funds appropriated to it in the 2014 budget would be released.
Gaiya gave the assurance at the opening ceremony of the 2015 NBBF Stakeholders and Consultative Forum/Pre-Season Seminar in Abuja.
He said the Committee would ensure that what was allocated to the NBBF was released for it to carry out its programmes.
“During the 2012 Sports Summit, it was agreed that some particular sports be given leverage due to their performances, and one of them was basketball.
“This is in recognition of basketball’s position in the country, and that position must be matched with actions by providing the needed funds and other things.
“I was surprised when I was informed that the budgeted allocation had not been released to the federation.
“But what I was made to understand was that the fourth quarter release of some ministries had not been released. But now, we are sure that this will be given.
“We are going to see to it that what is meant for basketball is given to it,’’ Gaiya said.
Speaking earlier, NBBF President, Tijani Umar, had bemoaned the fact that the federation lacks a befitting office, saying it was affecting morale and slowing down the federation’s partnership management.
Umar called on the National Sports Commission (NSC) to show the federation the plot of land allocated to it by the former Minister of Sports, Bolaji Abdullahi.
“When you have a vision and plan to execute it, if you don’t have a befitting office, there is no way you can have the number of staff to execute the vision.
“You cannot bring your partners to meet with you and you cannot convince your sponsors that you are a serious federation worthy of doing business with.
“We have got a commitment from the former minister which is binding. Therefore, all we need is for the NSC to show us the land to build our office.
“Once we show the land to people who want to help us, we are sure of getting money from them to start work on the office project.
“It is all about determination, if we have the land, the Nigerian Basketball House will be built. For example, the Football House is up now and I think the house is befitting,’’ Umar said.
The NBBF president said another challenge hindering the federation’s performance was that of qualitative facilities to raise the standard of the game.
“We need a standard FIBA-approved basketball floor and scoreboard for national and international competitions.
“As a result, our chance of hosting any international tournament has reduced, while the work of bringing our national teams to camp to play and practise at home before our fans is not possible,’’ he said.
Umar said Nigerian basketball stakeholders must provide an enabling environment for investors to key into.
“The regular reference to the private sector to be the driver of growth of our sports sector is very hollow.
“Stakeholders should not abandon their responsibility of creating an enabling environment to attract investors. “When you don’t have a good product to exchange for investment and sponsorship, no one will answer your calls,’’ he said.

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RSG Restates Commitment To Youth Dev Via Sports

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The Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor on School Sports, Chief Aribitonye Okiri, has said that the state government-led by Chief Nyesom Wike, is committed to develop youths in the State through sports. 
 He stated that it is not in doubt that the State has hidden talents at the grassroots that are yet to be discovered. 
Chief Okiri, said this at the finals of the National School Sports Competition held at Adokiye Amiesimaka Sports Complex in Port Harcourt, on Wednesday.
According to him, Governor Wike is poised to reach out to young ones in all the local government areas, in the state and engage them with sporting activities in a bid to discover hidden talents. 
“As I speak, the governor has reiterated his desire to reach out to the children in all parts of the state and unearth their talents through engagement in sports, believing that all Rivers children are talented” Chief Okiri said. 
Also speaking, the second Vice President of Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF), Pastor Emmanuel Ebong, thanked Governor Wike, for proving a worthy partner of NSSF and appeal to other corporate organisations to emulate Nigeria Breweries Ltd in partnering NSSF in sports development. 
At the end of the final competition, Community Secondary School, Okochiri in Okrika Local Government Area, dominated the medal table.

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24 States Set For Lagos Athletics Championship

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The Lagos State Athletics Association has confirmed the entry of 24 states and some clubs for its lucrative Athletics Meet fixed for Thursday, at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
Yussuf Alli who is the Meet Director for the Lagos Open Athletics Championship made the disclosure at the weekend even as he hinted a few other states may still join the already confirmed 24 states and clubs.
He said: “Yes, we are very much on track for the Lagos Open Athletics Championship which will be coming up this Thursday.
“Right now, we already have 24 states and some top racing clubs that have confirmed their participation, a few more may join before we close the window.”
The Lagos Open Athletics Championship is a one-day meet simultaneously serving as another qualifying window for the Tokyo Olympics as well as a preparatory event for athletes that have already qualified for the sporting showpiece.
In the past days, Lagos has been a beehive of activities with the National trials at the Yaba College of Technology Sporting complex and now the train is moving to the heart of the city in Surulere as the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics continues to gather momentum.
 The list of events to be competed for at the Lagos Open Athletics Championship includes the 5,000 meters, 400 meters hurdles, 100 meters, 800 meters, 400 meters, and 100 meters.
There would also be top-quality action across the relay events including;  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 penciled down for the maiden Lagos Open Athletics Championship.
Already, the top three finishers across all the events have been assured mouthwatering prizes by the organisers.

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Okagbare Sets New Record At Olympic Trials

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Blessing Okagbare will be heading to Tokyo Olympics in the best form of her life after running the second fastest time in the world this season.
The 32-year-old ran  10.63 seconds to win the Athletics Federation of Nigeria Olympic Trials at the Sports Complex of Yaba College of Technology in Lagos on Thursday. 
The 10.63 seconds time saw her tie with Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’ best time in 2021 ahead of the delayed 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Okagbare ran 10.99 seconds in the semifinal of the event to set a new championship record , and before clocking 10.63 seconds in the final to set a new record.   The scorching 10.63 time is also a new African record. Only Florence Griffith Joyner who holds the world record at 10.49 seconds has run faster.        The Nigerian has now emerged one of the favourites for the 100m gold at the Tokyo Olympics alongside Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce who first ran 10.63 seconds this season.

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