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Instructor Laments Poor State Of Judo

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An international judo
instructor, Bashir Bassey, this week  in Abuja lamented the current poor state of the sport in the country, saying Nigerian judokas were below standard.
Bassey told newsmen that the non- participation of Nigerian athletes in major international competitions was “not good for the development of the sport’’.
The coach said that the country’s non-qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympics in Brazil would reduce the attention given to Nigeria by the International Judo Federation (IJF).
“Nigeria will not get the kind of attention required from the international body since we did not participate in the qualifiers for the Rio Olympics.
“If you do not participate in the qualification tournament, there is no how you can earn points to enable your participation at the Olympic Games.
“So, the non-participation of Nigeria in international tournaments is detrimental to the development of the game.
“The international body usually assists national federations based on their performance at the major competitions.
“The rating of Nigeria at the world judo ranking is very low, due to the country’s inability to participate in competitions,’’ he said.
Bassey, who is the immediate-past Director of Judo Education and Coaches Commission in Africa, also said the situation could be attributed to the country’s lack of a national coach.
“Since the retirement and subsequent death of the coach Alex Isidon in 1994, neither the National Sports Commission (NSC) nor the Nigeria Judo Federation (NJF) has been able to appoint a new coach.
“The federation only appoints coaches, usually from various states ahead of any international competition to assist the athletes.
“This has been affecting the technical development and standard of the sport,’’ he said.
The instructor called on sponsors to collaborate with the federation to grow the game.

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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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