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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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Tokyo 2020: Naomi Osaka Beats China’s Saisai In Straight Sets

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Japan’s Naomi Osaka returns a shot to China’s Zheng Saisai, during their Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games women’s singles, first round tennis match at the Ariake Tennis Park in Tokyo .
Japan’s Naomi Osaka won in straight sets on her highly-anticipated return to court at the Tokyo Olympics yesterday, while world number one Ashleigh Barty crashed out in the first round.
Osaka, the star of the opening ceremony, defeated China’s Zheng Saisai 6-1, 6-4 in her first match since taking an eight-week break for mental health reasons.
“I feel like more than anything I’m just focused on playing tennis. Playing the Olympics has been a dream of mine since I was a kid,” said Osaka, chosen as the first tennis player to light the Olympic cauldron on Friday.
“I feel like the break that I took was very needed, but I feel definitely a little bit refreshed and happy again.”
The Australian Open champion had not played since May, when she walked out of Roland Garros, saying that media commitments were harming her mental health.
Osaka showed few signs of rust as she reeled off the opening five games on the Ariake Coliseum centre court, which likely would have been packed to capacity if not for a spectator ban because of coronavirus restrictions.
The second seed broke the 52nd-ranked Zheng for a 2-1 lead in the second set and closed out an 87-minute victory on her third match point.
The 23-year-old Osaka is attempting to become Japan’s first Olympic tennis champion. She will play Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic in the last 32.

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Insurance FC Records Second NNL Win On Return

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Bendel Insurance recorded their second win in a row since returning to the second tier of Nigeria National League with a 1-0 win over Abia Comets on Saturday at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium.
Defender Tanimu Benjamin scored the only goal of the encounter in the 26th minute to hand the hosts the maximum points.
Both results have brightened their chances of qualifying for the Super 8.
According to Tidesports source, the Edo State Government in June withdrew the team from the competition after several of their players were injured by home fans during their game against Remo Stars in Ikenne, Ogun State.
On their return, Insurance pulled off an away win over Holy Arrows in Enugu before the win at the weekend 
“I am happy with the goal and the overall performance from the boys. Our aim is to return to the topflight and we are working hard to achieve it,” goal scorer Benjamin, who was injured in the violence at Ikenne, said

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Karagumruk To Pay Musa N1bn Annually

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Super Eagles captain, Ahmed Musa was on Thursday unveiled by Turkish Lig 1 side, Fatih Karagumruk, having signed the winger on a two-year deal with an option to extend the deal for another year.
Tidesports source gathered that the financial details of the deal were undisclosed by both club and player, Musa will earn about$2.5million (N1.02billion) annually with a weekly pay of $40,000, with bonuses.
Karagumruk were promoted to the Turkish topflight in the 2019/2020 campaign, ending a 35-year wait for a return to the Super Lig and want to remain there, thus, the acquisition of star players like Musa.
“It’s a good deal no doubt, the club wanted Musa because of his wealth of experience, having played at the World Cup and the UEFA Champions League. Since they were promoted to the topflight two seasons ago, their major aim is to remain in the Turkish topflight and also win games against the big sides like Galatasary, Fenerbahce and Trabzonspor and they believe Musa can help them achieve their goals. That’s why they signed him for $2.5million annual salary, besides bonuses and allowances,” a close friend of Musa said.
It was also reliably learnt that there were financial incentives for Musa, if the club qualified for European competitions, and if he ended up as their highest scorer at the end of the season.
Musa, in an interview with newsmen said Karagumruk’s ambition was a major reason he joined them.
“I was very impressed with the team’s philosophy, style of play and it’s clearly an ambitious club.

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