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Mixed reactions Trail RSG’s Reward To Festival Athletes

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The recent award ceremony organised by Rivers State Government at the Alfred Diete Spiff athletes and coaches who won medals at the 16th National Sports Festival held in Kaduna tagged “KADA 2009” has started to receive mixed reactions. In his reactions, John Senibo, popularly known as Big John who featured in boxing event said that the value of the reward from the government would only discourage athletes in the state. According to him, it is far below the expectations of the athletes. “As far as I am concerned, this award or reward, anything they chose to call it, is discouraging because it is far below the expectations of the athletes, after all, most states who gave much more to their athletes are not as rich as our state”, he said. Big John added the most painful part was that government deliberately neglected and refused to reward those that did not win medals after all the sufferings most athletes went through in Kaduna . “It is very painful and annoying that the state ignored those who participated in the festival. It is not fair at all, at least they would have given them something, no matter how small in order to encourage them. You and I know that some persons lost their lives while competing in some of the events.” he stated. He continued that the state which is preparing to host the 17th edition of the NSF next year would have used the opportunity to encourage and motivate the athletes. Big John, who is also the state Amateur Boxing Champion used the forum to call on Sports council to provide boxing gym and kits to enable boxers train well in preparation for the NSF next year. The Chief coach of Karate Association, Kingsley Okwelle, popularly known as Grand Master, in reaction thanaked the government for fulfilling its promises. According to him, the gesture would spur the athletes to do more in subsequent competitions, especially the forthcoming sports festival. “I thanked God today and feel very happy, because government has finally rewarded the athletes that made the state proud, I know that this gesture would encourage them to do more.” He said. In his reaction, the chairman of Amatuer Atheltic Assocation (AAA) Chief Nemi Adoki, said he observed that the athletes were not happy, perhaps they felt the award ceremony was overdue and the reward too small for such a national competition. He expressed hope that the reward would encourage them to put in more effort in next year’s national sports festival to be hosted by the state. The Secretary to the State government Hon. Magnus Abe, who represented the governor at the award ceremony, advised athletes to see the reward as an appreciation for what they have done. Hon. Abe, advised them to take their sports seriously to enable them become the best in their various events. He said that what government did was to encourage them to do more. He further said that “there is no sports today that would not make you rich, so long as you are the best in that particularly event. “What government has given to you today will not make you a rich man or woman. What you need is to put in your best to make you be the best. “Those sportsmen you hear that are millionaries did not start one day they have start long ago”. he said. The athletes who were initially promised a scholarship blank cheque to any level at any part of the world especially, for gold medalists were rewarded with the cash prize of N300,000, N200,000 and N150,000 for gold, silver and bronze medal runners, respectively.

 

Tonye Orabere

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2021/2022 NPFL Season  Starts, Dec 17

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The 2021/22 Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) season  is expected to  kick off on December 17th across 10 centres.
Defending champions, Akwa United, will start their title defence  at home in a Match Day 1 fixture against Kano Pillar at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo
Elsewhere,  Gombe United hosts Shooting Stars Sports Club to the Pantami stadium in Gombe in both teams’ first game of their returned season to the top flight.
The Pride of Benue, Lobi Stars, will host Rivers United at the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi with the club’s Manager, Eddy Dombraye, leading his side against his state for the first time in many years.
The first oriental derby match of the new season is among the opening fixtures with Enyimba FC playing host to their arch-rivals Abia Warriors in Aba, while Enugu Rangers travel to Katsina to face the Changi boys, Katsina United.
Niger Tornadoes will welcome Plateau United at their temporary home ground in Kaduna while there will be a reunion, sort of in Akure when Sunshine Stars face their former manager, Kabiru Dogo and Fuad Ekelojuoti who are now with Wikki Tourists at the Ondo Sports Complex, Akure.
Another matchday one fixture will see Kwara United host Dakkada in Ilorin. Kwara United almost won the league title last season, before Akwa United secured the title with seven points gap, while the Olukoya boys, MFM FC, will host regional rivals, Remo Stars, at the Agege Stadium.
The Solid Miners, Nasarawa United will travel to Owerri to face Heartland in another opening day tie.

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Delta Principals Cup: Sponsor Splashes Goodies On Finalists

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The sponsor of the on-going Delta State Principals’ Cup football competition, Zenith Bank, has promised that loads of goodies will be given to the finalists of the annual event.
The competition,  now in its 5th edition, is a developmental football competition organised for all secondary schools in the state.
Zenith Bank’s Group Managing Director, Ebenezer Onyeagwu,  said that the last four teams will be rewarded with various ranges of gift items as part of the final day activities.
“We are very committed to developmental pro-grammes in various ways. For sports, we believe in our catch them young initiatives, of which the Delta Principals’ Cup is one of them.
“I congratulate all the finalists for the 2021 event and wish to show that they are all winners, all of them will go home with attractive gift items on final day next week,” Onyeagwu said.
Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, will host the final match between Osadenis Mixed Secondary School and  School of Com-merce  on November 30.
Alaka Grammar School, Ozoro and Ovwor Mixed Secondary School will clash in the Third Place match billed to be the curtain raiser before the final match involving the defending champions, School of Commerce and Osadenis Mixed School.

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US-Based Okorie Plans Maiden South-East Sports Festival

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United States-based Nigerian former athlete, Victor Okorie, is planning to stage a maiden Southeast Sports Festival in 2022 to prepare athletes in the region for the national sports festival billed to hold in Asaba, Delta State.
Okorie, who is the Performance Director of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), said he would meet with governors and some stakeholders in the region soon, as part of his arrangements for the event.
Before his emergence as the Southeast zonal representative on the AFN board during the elective congress held in Abuja on June 14, Okorie had sponsored a competition for track and field athletes through his pet project, the South East Sports Foundation.
The competition, which held in Enugu, saw athletes from Abia, Anambra, Imo, Enugu and Ebonyi compete for prizes in sprint events, throw and jump.
The foundation also plans to organise competitions for the physically challenged athletes in the zone in line with Okorie’s view of taking physically challenged athletes in Southeast away from the streets, as well as integrate athletes in volleyball, handball, wrestling, and other sports on the same level with their foreign-based counterparts.
Speaking with newsmen, from his base in Tennessee, USA, Wednesday, Okorie, who won a silver medal for Nigeria at COJA 2003 All Africa Games in Abuja, said that the maiden Southeast Sports Festival would give the states chance to raise formidable squad for Asaba 2022.
“Sports are one major avenue governors in the southeast states can use to empower youths in the region,” Okorie said.
“I will meet with them and other stakeholders soon, on how we will stage a successful Southeast Sports Festival, which will serve as selection ground ahead of Asaba 2022 National Sports Festival. There is the need to re-awake sports campaign in the Southeast zone. Maybe, the next host of the national sSports festival will come from the Southeast after Asaba 2022,” he added.

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