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Champion Of Champions Tourney: Adekuoroye, Onyebuchi, Others Shine

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The maiden Baraza Champion of Champions Wrestling Tournament came to an end on Monday in Yenagoa, with Blessing Onyebuchi, Amas Daniel and teenager, Mercy Adekuoroye all impressively claiming the last three gold medals at stake on the final day of the competition.
World champion in beach wrestling, Onyebuchi displayed absolute class and utter dominance to land gold in the 76kg class in her first tournament in almost a year, no thanks to Covid-19 pandemic.
The 2019 African champion recorded four consecutive pinfall wins; 6-0 against Rhoda Shonde, 2-0 over Dami Ojo in just 56 seconds and 6-0 against Teme Deyei, before overcoming former African champion, Winnie Gofit of the Nigerian Army 6-0 in the final to claim gold, to the admiration of Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, who graced the grand finale of the tournament.
After her victory, Onyebuchi stated that the two-week camping organised by the Ministry of Youth and Sports in December for the wrestling team boosted her shape prior to the tournament, adding that she did not plan to win all her fights via pinfall.
“In December, our President (Daniel Igali) called us for two weeks camping. That one really helped a lot, because the kind of training I had during the camping, I can say it has been like three months back since I had that kind of training back home,” she said.
“Honestly, that was not my plan. But initially, anytime I am wrestling like this, I normally like to finish my fight in the first round because in second round, I don’t know what will happen. So, if I have my opportunity, I just take it.”
In the 53kg WW event, Mercy Adekuoroye, younger sister of Odunayo, caused a huge upset by defeating former African champion and favourite, Bose Samuel to claim gold.
Adekuoroye, a former cadet African champion, showed great determination and resilience to record a shock 7-3 win against her more illustrious and experienced opponent in the final.
In the only freestyle event on the final day, multiple African champion and Commonwealth silver-medalist, Amas Daniel made a mincemeat of his opponents in the 65kg weight category to grab gold in emphatic and ruthless fashion.
The Bayelsa State wrestler came from a point down in the first round of his first bout to thrash Fisayo Kolawole 12-1 and followed that up with two 10-0 technical superiority victories against Saliu Rasheed and Ebiere Bayefa to secure a spot in the final.
In the final, the captain of the men’s national team demolished Anthony Joseph 10-0 via technical superiority to win gold, and afterwards disclosed he has been working hard to maintain his form during the lockdown.
“As an elite athlete, you know you get to do the homework,” he said. “We’ve been having challenges with our training together for a while because of Covid-19, but as an individual, I was doing the homework at home; jogging, skipping, press ups, all those kind of little, little exercises.
“And so it is not much surprise to me (how I performed), because I know how I am for now. Though it is not good enough, I need to keep going. I think it wasn’t a bad outing.”

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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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