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NTF, Private Sector Partner To Promote Tennis – Coach

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Satisfied with children embracing tennis, a national coach, Rotimi Akinloye, has called for more collaboration between the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF) and the private sector to promote the sport, especially at the grassroots.
Akinloye told newsmen recently in Lagos that if concerted efforts were made to catch-them-young for the sport, the country’s woes in international competitions would be stemmed.
He said that it was unfortunate that Nigeria which had produced renowned world greats like Nduka Odizor, Sule Ladipo, Tony Momoh and Sadiq Abdullahi was no longer reckoned with.
Tidesports gathered that recently, other tennis players done the country proud include Clifford Enoseregbe, a gold medalist at the 2011 African Games in Maputo, Mozambique.
Michael Moses is the first Nigerian in recent times to win the abridged 2014 Governors Cup Lagos Tennis and is currently the highest ranked player in the country.
Another budding player, Christian Paul, won gold medal at the last National Sport Festival in Lagos, tagged “Eko 2012’’.
Also, Russian-born youngster who represented Nigeria at an U-18 tournament,  Melisa Ifidzen, before coming up with the shocking win at the women’s final of the CBN Open.
Akinloye said that it was becoming common in the country to spot children gather to play tennis during and after school hours just as football.
He told newsmen that the development spurred him to enroll coaches for the International Tennis Federation (ITF) National Level One Training Course to help to improve the game.
“I went to get certified as a coach and I chose to make it easier by helping coaches who cannot travel far and probably do not have the funds to pay to get the certification.
“I observed that tennis is no longer vibrant but that lately, young ones gather themselves after school hours to engage in the sport.
“I was equally amazed by what they were doing and was inspired to groom them because they need to learn the fundamentals of tennis to become world beaters.
“Usually, it’s either football or other ball games that children give much attention to, but in recent times, I noticed that some young lads have separated themselves from these prominent sports.
“I took my time to observe them and I noticed that they really want to become tennis stars but don’t know the fundamentals and how to channel their energies to achieve their ambition.
“It then occurred to me that I must make extra effort to upgrade my coaching skills and that of other coaches to be acquainted with the current techniques to identify these young ones.’’
He pleaded with the NTF to give more attention to local tennis competitions to create an enabling atmosphere for young tennis players to exhibit their skills and get discovered.
According to him, lack of funds is a major challenge denying tennis associations the opportunity of organising grassroots competitions for players in their states.

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Reps Summon Dare Over Doping Crisis At Tokyo

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The House of Representatives has begun investigation of the disqualification of Nigerian athletes at the 2020 Olympics over alleged doping, asking the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare, to come and explain the preparedness of the Nigerian contingent for the sports festival.
Tidesports source gathered that the resolutions followed the unanimous adoption of a motion at the plenary on Wednesday titled, ‘Need to Investigate Activities of the Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development on Failed Doping Test by Nigeria Athletes at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.’
Consequently, the House resolved to “invite the Minister of Sports and Youth Development (sic) to brief the Committee on Sports on the level of Nigeria’s compliance with extant regulations set by the International Association of Athletics Federations and the independent anti-doping arm, Athletics Integrity Unit.”
The House also urged the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to put necessary measures in place to ensure compliance with extant regulations at both local and international competitions, while mandating the Committee on Sports to “investigate the immediate and remote cause of the failed doping test to forestall future occurrence.”
Moving the motion, Mr Babatunde Ayeni said the Nigerian delegation to the Olympic Games fared well in terms of performance, thereby raising the country’s rating in the comity of nations.
Ayeni recalled the outstanding performance of the Nigerian Football Team which bagged the historic first soccer gold medal at the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, United States of America.
The lawmaker lamented the incident of July 20, 2021, where the Athletics Integrity Unit of the International Association of Athletics Federations barred 10 Nigerian athletes, including the highly-rated Blessing Okagbare, from the Tokyo Olympics for failing to meet requirements for out-of-competition drug testing.
He recalled that the Athletics Integrity Unit alleged that Okagbare, who won the opening heat of the Women’s 100 meters, had tested positive for human growth hormone.
 “The House is also aware that the allegation further affirmed that the affected athletes failed to comply with the rules requiring those from countries deemed to be at high risk of doping to undergo three no-notice out-of-competition tests in a 10 months’ period leading up to a major event.
“The House is concerned that despite the huge funds being made available yearly for the regulatory agencies in the sports sector, adequate efforts have not been made to get Nigeria into the category where they would be deemed to have made significant improvements in anti-doping tests,” Ayeni added.

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NYG: Rivers B’Ball Team Intensifies Preparations

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Coach of the Rivers State Male Basket-ball Team, Dagogo Okumgba, has said that preparation, are in top gear for the forthcoming 2021 edition of the National Youth Games (NYG)scheduled to hold in Ilorin, Kwara State.
Coach Okumgba disclosed this yesterday during an exclusive interview with Tidesports in Port Harcourt.
According to him, the team is doing everything necessary to get a better outing in Ilorin when the chips are down, saying that the players are in high spirits and are poised to compete favourably when the competition gets underway.
The coach said his players are committed to their preparations for the task ahead and determined to do the state proud at the games come November this year.
“We are doing our part to prepare as a team and wait for a go ahead from the Sports Ministry for camping so as to further prepare and fortify on the earlier made preparation,” Okumgba added.
The team qualified from their zone at the recently concluded zonal elimi-nation for team sports ahead of “National Youth Games” coming up next month.
It would be recalled that the zonal elimination for team events which comprised Rivers, Delta, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Edo states took place in Asaba, Delta State, fortnight ago.
The date for the competition was earlier fixed for September 7 to 17 this year.

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10 Athletes To Represent Nigeria At Winter Olympics

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Following the successful completion of its inaugural Olympics Trials in Lagos last Saturday,  the Bobsled and Skeleton Federation of Nigeria has stated that 10 athletes would represent Nigeria at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Games.
Technical Director, BSFN, Dr. Seun Adigun disclosed this in Lagos.
“Ten athletes will be named for the Winter Olympics.
“We will have two athletes for Bobsled, two in the Monobob women’s team, two athletes for the Bobsled men’s team, two male Skeleton and two female Skeleton athletes for the national team,” Adigun, who played a key role in Nigeria’s debut at the last Winter Olympics Games in Pyeongchang, Sourh Korea, said.
President, BSFN, Solomon Ogba stated that the team would train on ice in Europe, ahead of the Winter Games.
“This is the first stage of the preparation for the Olympics before the athletes train on ice,” Ogba said.
History was made earlier in the year when six athletes, who were selected from the first-ever trials in Lagos, trained and participated on ice for the first time in Pyeongchang.
Tidesports source reports that after a few days of training on ice, Perpetua Nwanna and Alawode Sekinat won bronze medal in their debut competition, after finishing third in the women’s double Bobsleigh IBSFSliding Korea Cup.

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