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‘Empty Stands In Doha Damaging Athletics’

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The empty stands in Doha at the World Championships are not helping athletics and the sport needs to evolve, says ex-British sprinter, Darren Campbell.
Doha was awarded the event ahead of Barcelona and Eugene in Oregon, USA, but the lack of crowds have been a feature of the first three days.
“The sport is not evolving and it does not help when images across the world show empty stadiums,” said Campbell.
“I guess people watching it go ‘that sport’s dying’ and switch over.”
France’s world champion decathlete Kevin Mayer says holding the championships in Doha is a “disaster”.
Denise Lewis, who won gold for Britain in the heptathlon at the 2000 Olympics, also says the sport’s world governing body, the IAAF, has “let athletes down”.
“What athletics needs now is for the IAAF to really think about what they are doing and, if it means the World Championships unfortunately have to go to countries that will sell out, then that’s the way it has to be,” added Campbell.
Campbell, who won 4x100m relay gold at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, also says the IAAF needs to think about how to develop the sport after failing to take advantage of former Jamaica sprinter Usain Bolt’s popularity.
“It (athletics) is getting heart resuscitation at the minute,” said Campbell.
“It’s not in the best place it has ever been and that was regardless of Usain Bolt.
“You hear people in cricket talking about, after such a fantastic World Cup [won by England], how they could harness what has been created by that moment.
“Athletics has failed to harness what has been created over the period of Usain Bolt. They just rode on his back rather than think ‘how do we take this to everybody?’.
“We want to be entertained, so how does athletics entertain? This is where they are failing.”

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Tokyo 2020: Nigerian Wrestlers Are Medal Hopefuls -Coach

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National wrestling coach Akuh Purity, has stated that Nigerian wrestlers going to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have real medal chances this time, compared to the 2016 Olympics with less than a month to the games in Tokyo.
Purity, speaking in a chat with Tidesports source stressed that better exposure and competition experience already put the Nigerian wrestlers as medal prospects.
He added that the wrestlers had actually competed against the very best in the world in the run-in to the Tokyo Olympics and have an idea of almost whatever anyone of the top guns will offer.

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Ex-D’Tigers Player Becomes NBA Head Coach

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Former D’tigers player Ime Udoka has been appointed the new coach for Boston Celtics in the NBA.
Udoka had been considered a front-runner for the job, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported last Friday that Udoka was among the candidates who received second interviews.
Udoka, 43, spent seven years on Gregg Popovich’s staff in San Antonio, including the 2013-14 season, when the Spurs won the NBA title.
He joined the Philadelphia 76ers in 2019 and was with the Nets last year.
Udoka was a member of the Nigerian national team, for whom he played at the 2006 FIBA World Championships.

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B/Volleyball: Nigeria Defeats Kenya In Olympic Qualifiers

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Nigeria beat Kenya 2-1 (21-13, 19-21, 15-13) in the golden match to record their first win in the men’s category of the Tokyo Beach Volleyball Olympic Qualifiers in Morocco.
Nigeria Team A (Obayemi Ogunshina and Hilary Simon) lost to Kenya Team B 0-2 (15-21, 13-21) in the first encounter before Nigeria Team B consisting of Emenike Ezike and Emmanuel Chidebere defeated Kenya Team A (21-16, 21-16) in the second encounter.
The head coach of Nigeria beach volleyball team, Francis Imoudu commended the players for putting all their effort against Kenya.
Imoudu stated that Kenya gave Nigeria a good fight but the better side won the game.
He said, “This win is an indication that the men’s team is ready for their remaining opponents. I must commend the fighting spirit of the team because bookmakers had given the game to the Kenyans but we shocked Africa.
“Kenya is a good side but Nigeria did not show them any respect on the court. We will take each game as they come and all we need is the support of Nigerians home and abroad for these boys to succeed”.
Reacting to the victory, the Chairman Caretaker Committee of Nigeria Volleyball Federation, Engineer Musa Nimrod lauded the players for recording their first win of the beach volleyball Olympic qualifiers.
He said the Federation will continue to support the team adding that the players should show no respect to their remaining opponents in the qualifiers.

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