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Delays, Technical Hitches Mar Taekwondo Int’l Open Championship

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The 2019 Nigeria Taekwondo International Open Championship kicked off amidst delays and technical hitches at the velodrome of the Abuja National Stadium last Friday.
The tournament started on a forgettable note, as organisational delays and technical failure characterised the better part of early proceedings on Day 1.
Tidesports source reports that early signs of snags came when the replay specialist from Egypt penciled down for the event missed his flight.
Organisers had to source an improvised replay specialist.
Tidesports also gathered that the Opening Ceremony of the event could not hold as invited guests, led by the Minister of Youths and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, did not show up.
The tournament then had to continue without an opening ceremony.
And just after two fights, the electronic system malfunctioned midway into the third fight, forcing organisers to temporarily halt the event.
Orgernisers were still trying to figure out how to put the electronic system back to work when the entire velodrome was plunged into power failure.
To the dismay of some foreign delegates, power supply to the venue kept on fluctuating even as the fights went on.
A World Taekwondo Technical Delegate to the event, Myriam Baverel, however downplayed the hurdles while speaking with newsmen, stating that they were not peculiar to Nigeria.
“It is normal to face certain difficulties when staging this kind of tournament. Today is the first day of the tournament and as with every tournament it is always more difficult and complicated to start.
“We started late and are now facing some technical problems. But all these challenges will be overcome and, at the end, we hope to conclude that it was a successful tournament.
“I am confident things will get better as we progress. The most important thing is for the tournament to conform to international rules and the athletes compete fairly,” she said.
President of the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation (NTF), Margaret Binga, also tried to put up a spirited demeanour, promising an interesting tournament and exciting closing ceremony.
“This is taekwondo and the athletes are eager to fight. Whatever excitement was missed by not staging an opening ceremony will be packaged into the closing ceremony,” she said.
According to the organisers, 121 athletes from 15 countries are participating in the tournament, which is slated to run between Friday and Sunday.
2019 Nigeria Taekwondo International Open Championship is a World Taekwondo-recognised G-1 tournament being hosted by Nigeria for the first time.
Binga said the tournament would help prepare Nigerian athletes for the upcoming African Games.
“We expect to see our athletes compete with the rest of the world. This tournament is an opportunity for our athletes to gain exposure and points because this tournament is recognised by the international body.
“You all know that the African Games is just months away and this is an ample opportunity for us to prepare our athletes ahead of the games.
“It will offer us improvement on our strength and provide an avenue for us to work on areas we have challenges in,” she said.
Also speaking about what the tournament offers, Baverel said it would propel the development of taekwondo in the West African sub-region.
“It’s the first time that a G-1 tournament is organised in Nigeria. So, it’s a big event for the future and development of taekwondo in this part of Africa.
“It is important for athletes because they can gain points and qualify for the Olympics. It is a great achievement to be able to successfully organise a competition of this magnitude,” she added.
In the opening fights of the tournament, Issoufou Mariama of Niger Republic defeated Khadidjat Adeyanju of the Nigerian Army 26-20 in the -49kg female category.
Lawan Sulaiman of Nigeria however revenged the loss by beating Mariama’s countryman Ibrahim Ousmane 16-14 in the -58kg male category.

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Underdog Tag Motivated Win Against Abia Warriors -Stone

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Jigawa’s two-goal hero in the 3-1 win away at Abia Warriors on Wednesday, Samuel Stone, says their victory was propelled by the continuous tagging of his side as underdogs in the Nigeria Professional Foot-ball League (NPFL).
Stone, whose goals in the 74th and 85th minutes aided Gilbert Opana’s men to their first win away from home since April 2008, in a chat with Tidesports source, reflected on his team’s victory against the Umuahia side, describing it as a tip of the iceberg.
“I needed to score to regain my confidence. I missed out on the starting eleven against Rangers due to injury and the result was quite disappointing. We needed to make a statement here today.
“I aim to help Jigawa to a better position, not minding the fact that many people refer to us as underdogs. We are determined to prove them wrong and remain in the premier league”, he said.
On his team’s aspiration for the season, Stone said he had a personal desire to see his team rub shoulders with the big teams while aiming for a perfect end to the campaign.
“Every player wants to win something for his club. Asides from keeping our place in the league, it is also my desire to see the team be in the top three and earn a continental ticket by end of the season. This can be achieved through hard work and dedication. If we are consistent with this sort of performance (against Abia Warriors), that dream is achievable”, he posited.
The former Go Round FC and Kano Pillars for-ward will be key to Jigawa’s fortunes in the new campaign, as the team looks forward to better last season’s one goal per game average ratio (25 goals from 25 games), which pecked them most-ly in the relegation zone.

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NPFL: Martins Eyes Top Goal Scorers Award

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With three goals in four matches so far this season, Lobi Stars striker, Ossy Martins, believes he could end the season as the league’s top scorer for the 2020-21 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL).
Martins benefited from good positioning to put Lobi Stars ahead on the 77th minute in Wednesday’s 2-2 draw away at Sunshine Stars. The goal was Martins’ third of the current season and puts him halfway through his best ever goal return of six goals in 2018-19 NPFL campaign.
And having bagged a goal in three consecutive games this season, few would doubt Martins achieving his target.
“I have doubled my efforts and put in more work. My target is to be the highest goal scorer this season and I believe I am going to make it,” he told Tidesports source.
The three goals put Martins joint-top of the goal scorers list after four rounds of matches this season and the former Rivers United striker is quick to praise the influence of teammates and head coa-ch, Kabiru Dogo, at Lobi Stars for his newly found form.
“My motivation is my teammates. They keep telling me that I should keep pushing and I can be the highest goal scorer this season and I took that to heart,” he said.
“I have always wanted to play for the coach ever since I was playing for ABS FC. So when I joined Lobi Stars, I made up my mind to play my heart out for him,” he concluded.

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NNL: Gateway United Set To Tackle Cometh FC

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Gateway United FC of Ogun State will kick start its 2020/2021 Nigeria National League campaign on the road against Joy Cometh FC at the Agege Township Stadium, Lagos on Saturday, January 30, 2021.
The gateway team, along-side another Ogun State-based outfit, Remo Stars, fall in group B2 (Southern Con-ference) in contention with Bayelsa United, Bendel Insurance, Joy Cometh FC, Crown FC, J Atete FC, Apex Keane FC, Ibom Youth FC, FC One Rocket, Godosky FC, Bayelsa United FC, Abia Comets and Jossy FC
The matchday 1 fixtures and the groupings were released by the media team of the Nigeria National League after the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Second tier league which was held on Friday, January 15, in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, where the draws were made in the presence of representatives of all 46 teams.
While the Hakeem Busari tutored side will trade tackles with Joy Cometh FC in the opening fixtures of Group B2, Crown FC will welcome Jossy FC in Ogbomoso, J Atete hosts Abia Comets in Warri, Bayelsa United will visit Apex Krane, Remo Stars entertain Godosky FC just as Ibom Youth FC will size up FC One Rocket in Akwa Ibom.

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