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Abia Govt To Support Professional Wrestling

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Governor Theodore Orji of Abia State at the weekend in Abuja said his government would ensure massive support for the promotion and growth of professional wrestling in the country.

Orji, who made the promise while receiving a delegation from the World Wrestling Professionals (WWP), said he was committed to the success of sports endeavours in Abia and Nigeria.

The WWP delegation included the body’s president, Mr Mark Beale, and two of their wrestlers, the Ultimate Commander and the Nigerian-born Kilimanjaro.

Also on the delegation were members of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the Commonwealth Heavyweight Wrestling Champion of Champions tournament dubbed the “Last Man Standing’’.

Orji said the state had shown unwavering support for all sports through the sponsorship of football club sides as well as wrestling.

“Abia has interest in sports generally, and not only in Enyimba and OUK FC, but we have a particular interest in wrestling.

“ This is because we know we have the wrestling talents that will do us proud in the sport.

“Our own Osita Ofor, the Ultimate Commander, has shown that he has the talent and he is still doing well to attain the heights the likes of the late Power Mike reached in the sport for Nigeria,” he said.

The governor, who acknowledged that the sport had not been doing well in Nigeria lately, noted that the feats of Ultimate Commander and Kilimanjaro at WWP deserved the support of Nigerians.

“With what Ultimate Commander did in Scotland last year, I know he has the potentials to do better and this is why Abia state will do everything possible to ensure the tournament holds in Aba this October,” he said.

Orji said it was the duty of all Nigerians as well as governments to ensure massive support for the October tournament as well as wrestling as a sport.

“It’s a duty we owe the likes of Ultimate Commander and other aspiring Nigerian wrestlers. Somebody must prop them up.

“They may have the muscles to wrestle, but they don’t have the financial muscle to stage their fight here in Nigeria.

“ Our own is to help him reach the heights of the likes of Hulk Hogan and the rest,” he said.

Speaking earlier, Chief Simeon Okeke, Chairman of the tournament’s LOC, expressed admiration for the governor’s interest and support for sports and the Ultimate Commander.

“We are interested in identifying and promoting sportsmen and your support for sports is a great help for us,” he said.

Beale, in his own remarks, reiterated his belief in the enormity of wrestling talents in Nigeria and his desire to help them through developmental programmes.

He said such programmes, such as the establishment of gymnasiums and the staging of fights, would help Nigeria become a wrestling powerhouse in Africa.

“We have a lot of talents in Nigeria and Africa as a whole and it is through good support that we can achieve our desires of tapping and making good use of such talents,” Beale said

Also speaking on the tournament, Chief Emeka Inyama, the Director of Organisation, said the event had been moved to October from August because of the FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa in June and July.

“The World Cup will slow down business in all sectors and we decided the tournament can help to add more glamour to Nigeria’s 50th Independence Anniversary celebrations,” he said.

The tournament, earlier scheduled to be held in many Nigerian cities over four weeks, is to feature between 12 and 18 top wrestlers from many parts of the world under the auspices of the WWP.

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World Cup 2022: Man Killed In Iran Celebrating Team’s Loss

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A man is reported to have been killed by security forces in northern Iran, as anti-government protesters publicly celebrated the national football team’s elimination from the World Cup.
Activists said Mehran Samak was shot in the head after he honked his car’s horn in Bandar Anzali on Tuesday night.
Videos from other cities showed crowds cheering and dancing in the streets.
Many Iranians refused to support their football team in Qatar, seeing it as a representation of the Islamic Republic.
State-affiliated media blamed hostile forces both inside and outside Iran for putting unfair pressure on the players following their 1-0 loss to the USA in the final group game.
The players did not sing the national anthem before their first game, a 6-2 defeat by England, in an apparent expression of solidarity with the protesters.
But they did sing at the Wales game, which they won 2-0, and at the politically-charged showdown against the USA.
Some protesters saw that as a betrayal of their cause even though there were reports that the team came under intense pressure from Iranian authorities.
The unrest started 10 weeks ago following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman arrested by morality police in Tehran for allegedly violating the strict rules requiring women to cover their hair with a hijab.
Authorities have responded to what they have portrayed as foreign-backed riots with a violent crackdown in which the Norway-based group Iran Human Rights says at least 448 people have been killed, including 60 children. More than 18,000 others are reported to have been arrested.

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Belgium Out Of W/Cup

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Belgium have been knocked out of the World Cup at the group stage as Croatia progressed at their expense with a goalless draw in Qatar.
Roberto Martinez’s side, who finished third in Russia four years ago and are ranked second in the world, have had a disappointing tournament with just one win and one goal in their three matches
They produced another lacklustre display against Croatia despite knowing victory was necessary to progress to the last 16.
Substitute Romelu Lukaku had numerous chances in the second half but his failure to convert any sealed his country’s fate.
Lukaku, searching for sharpness following injury, hit the post from in front of goal, poked an effort wide when well-placed and reacted too slowly when the ball hit him in the six-yard box in stoppage time.
Croatia, finalists in 2018, got the point they needed to progress from Group F as runners-up, with Morocco taking top spot thanks to a 2-1 win against Canada.
Zlatko Dalic’s side will face the winners of Group E , which is currently Spain, in the last 16.
Belgium players fell to the turf at full-time as their supporters behind the goal politely applauded them off the pitch.
Lukaku, who replaced Dries Mertens at half-time, came into the game with intent and immediately brought energy and purpose to his side.
But his missed opportunities in the second half proved costly, with each one bringing an audible collective groan from the stands and the on-loan Inter Milan striker punched the dugout in frustration after the final whistle.
Croatia were not especially convincing, their most threatening moment was a first-half penalty award being ruled out by VAR because of an offside infringement in the build-up – but did enough to secure progression.
They did however look a level below what they showed to reach the final in Russia four years ago and their celebrations were fairly subdued after scraping through.

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Germany Crash Out Of World Cup Despite 4-2 Defeat Of Costa Rica

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Germany crashed out of the World Cup at the group stage for the second time in succession despite a 4-2 win against Costa Rica on Thursday.
The four-time World Cup winners came into the match needing a win but were also relying on the result of Japan’s game with Spain to progress.
But the Germans were eliminated due to goal difference as Japan followed up their defeat of Germany with another shock result by beating Spain 2-1.
Germany took an early lead but briefly fell behind in the second half as coach Hansi Flick made a flurry of changes, reacting to the live score of the Japan v Spain fixture.
The Germans started positively, with Flick’s all-Bayern Munich front line turning the screws early, battering the Costa Rica defence before Serge Gnabry got his head to a curling cross from Leipzig defender David Raum after 10 minutes to open the scoring.
Midfielder Leon Goretzka almost doubled Germany’s lead just five minutes later but his header was directly at Keylor Navas.
Complacency began to creep into Germany’s game. Keysher Fuller, Costa Rica’s goal-scoring hero in a 1-0 win against Japan, forced Manuel Neuer into a fingertip save after some half-hearted defending from Raum and Antonio Ruediger.
Flick moved Kimmich back to his familiar defensive midfield position at half-time, bringing on Lukas Klostermann at the expense of Goretzka, who like Kimmich started the match on a yellow.
Just seven minutes into the second half, word crept around the vast Lusail Stadium that Japan had scored two quick goals to take the lead against Spain, a result which would force Germany out of the tournament.
Flick reacted immediately, bringing on Niclas Fuellkrug and taking off another midfielder in Ilkay Gundogan.
Germany appeared disjointed as Costa Rica went on the counter on the 58-minute mark, the ball rebounding off Neuer and into the path of Yeltsin Tejeda, who slammed it home.
Flick continued to chase the game, making more changes but it was Costa Rica who scored next when Juan Pablo Vargas tapped a free kick past Neuer to put his side past Spain and into the Round of 16. The goal was later recorded as an own goal.
Germany hit back minutes later through Chelsea forward Kai Havertz to draw level.
Havertz scored again in the 86th minute and Fuellkrug added another in the 89th minute to bring the score to 4-2, but the side’s focus remained nervously fixed on the group’s parallel fixture.
The night ended with Germany losing out to second-placed Spain on goal difference.
It means Germany, who had not missed out on the knockout stages of a World Cup for 80 years until the 2018 tournament in Russia, have been bundled out in the group stage for the second World Cup in a row.

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