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Imo Set To Challenge Delta, Others At NSF

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The Imo Sports Council has begun a talent hunt for athletes to represent the state in the National Sports Festival billed for Port Harcourt in November.

Director of Sports, Goddy Agbarakwe told newsmen in Owerri that the objective was to discover athletes who could regain the state’s lost glory in sports.

He noted with regret that the state had become a mere participant in the sports fiesta in recent years.

“For a very long time, Imo has been there to participate, but this time, we have planned to change all that for the better”, he said.

Imo came first in 1996 when it hosted the Games, seventh in 2004 and 2006 respectively and eighth in 2008.

Agbarakwe warned Delta, Lagos, Edo and Oyo States that Imo would no longer be a watcher, but would compete with them for medals.

“We have started preparations.  We have already started going to every nook and cranny of the 27 local government areas of the state.

“All sports council officials in the local government areas are working hard to fish out budding talents with the association secretaries and coaches”, he said.

The director said the sports council would start weekend sporting activities and organise seminars for the coaches and secretaries.

He said old athletes who had participated in the Games for the three mandatory times would be invited to transfer their skills to the discovered talents.

Agbarakwe said the athletes would be prepared in 25 sports for the team and individual events.

“We are concentrating on all the 25 sports, including the team, track and field as well as combat events”, he said.

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Alcaraz Overwhelms Djokovic To Defend Wimbledon Title

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Carlos Alcaraz powered to victory over an out-of-sorts Novak Djokovic in a bewildering final to defend his men’s singles title at Wimbledon.
A repeat of last year’s showpiece, it failed to live up to the five-set thriller of 12 months ago as Djokovic appeared helpless against the dominant Spaniard.
After squandering three championship points when trying to serve out the victory, Alcaraz held his arms aloft after edging through the third-set tie-break for a 6-2 6-2 7-6 (7-4) win.
For a second straight year, Djokovic was attempting to equal Roger Federer’s record of eight Wimbledon titles.
The 24-time major winner was also trying to move ahead of Margaret Court to take sole ownership of the all-time record for the most Grand Slam singles titles.
Graceful in defeat, Djokovic shared a smile and warm embrace with Alcaraz at the net after the comprehensive defeat.

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Uruguay Coach Blasts Copa America Organisers

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Uruguay coach Marcelo Bielsa has lashed out at the plague of liars running the 2024 Copa América, two days after his team’s semifinal against Colombia ended with a brawl in the stands involving players and fans.
At a fiery, extraordinary news conference, Bielsa criticized the lack of security provided to Uruguayan families; argued that his players were obligated to climb into the crowd to protect their loved ones; and said that post-brawl punishments should not be for the players, “but rather for those who forced them to act how they acted”, tournament organisers.
And Bielsa did not stop there. He blasted the patchy, temporary grass fields laid down for this Copa América, which is being hosted by 14 stadiums across the United States.
He also said the “training fields were a disaster.”
He suggested that Bolivia had been unable to train because one pitch was so bad.
He said that  Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni, who blasted the quality of the field at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium on opening night, had been threatened and told not to speak out again. (At multiple news conferences since, Scaloni has indeed declined to discuss the state of fields when asked.)
Bielsa noted that U.S. authorities, such as those in charge of the stadiums, have responsibility for some of this, but “they have not lied,” Bielsa said.
He instead directed most of his criticism at CONMEBOL, the South American soccer confederation primarily in charge of (and primarily profiting from) the tournament. “They say that the pitches are perfect, and all these lies that they have told!” Bielsa ranted, gesticulating furiously.
At one point, he cut himself off, and acknowledged: “I’m saying everything I promised I wouldn’t say.” But he couldn’t hold back.
He had been asked by a reporter whether he feared that his players who fought with fans would be sanctioned for their roles in the melee. “The players reacted like any other human being would,” Bielsa responded as he grew angry. He said that their families had no escape route. “And if you see your woman, or your mother, or a baby, being attacked, what would you do?”

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Euro 2024: Mikel Oyarzabal Clinches Victory For Spain

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Mikel Oyarzabal scored a late goal to give Spain a 2-1 victory over England in the Euro 2024 Final yesterday at Berlin’s Olympiastadion.
Coming off the bench, Oyarzabal scored the winning goal to give Spain a record fourth European Championship, their first since 2012.
Following a cagey first half in Berlin, in which neither team scored, Spain increased the intensity early in the second half.
A lovely infield shuffle from the 17-year-old Lamine Yamal followed by a cross-pass in the path of Spain’s left-winger, Nico Williams ended up as the opener.
Williams slotted the ball past Jordan Pickford at the bottom corner of the far post to make Spain go ahead of the game.
In the 70th minute, Cole Palmer was substituted in for Kobbie Mainoo.
The Chelsea player took three minutes to combine alongside Jude Bellingham for England’s equalizer.
The winner finally came via another substitute, this time for Spain, as Oyarzabal pounced onto a Marc Cucurella’s low cross from the left to see his team win the game.

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