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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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Okowa Lauds Athletes Ahead Olympics Trials

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President, Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Tonobok Okowa, has once again mandated all athletes looking to represent the country at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games to attend the Nigerian Trials, which hold from June 16 to 18 inside the main bowl of Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin-City.
Making his stance clear in Monday’s release by the athletics body, Okowa commended the athletes for their determination to qualify for the Olympics.
He said, “The athletes have shown commitment, determination, and desire to succeed in their careers by picking Olympic qualifications. They deserve our collective appreciation.”
He added, “The athletes would be picked in accordance with their performances at the trials because it would largely determine who goes to Paris for the Olympics.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman, Edo State Sports Commission, Yusuf Alli, says the state is waiting to welcome athletes for the trials.
He said, “We are the hosts of the national trials, and athletes and spectators are welcome.”
The trials are expected to throw up the best of Nigeria’s athletes based at home and abroad for the Olympic Games in Paris in July.

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Emerging Star Eyes Olympics Place For Nigeria

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Nigerian track and field star, Favour Ofili, has set her sights on the upcoming national Olympics trials after she pulled off a stunning victory in the women’s 100m at the New York Grand Prix, defeating a stellar field that included Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica last Sunday.
The 21-year-old clocked a season-best 11.18secs to take the win, America’s Morolake Akinosun was second in 11.20secs while her compatriot Aleia Hobbs ended in third place in 11.21secs.Thompson-Herah, the Tokyo Olympics 100m and 200m gold medalist, could only manage ninth place in 11.48secs as she continues to search for her best form this season.
“Just like practice, stay calm and just go, finish your transition because that’s the issue, and whatever happens will happen. I wanted to get the standard here and I give God glory for the win,” Ofili told Tidesports source after the race.
“For the trials, stay calm and just do what I know how to do, go back and do some training before I go back home for the national trials.”
The Olympic trials are scheduled to hold in Benin City, Edo State from June 16 to 18. The trials will serve as the selection of the nation’s athletes for both the Senior Africa Athletics Championships, holding between June 21 and 28 in Douala, Cameroon and the Paris 2024 Olympics, which hold from July 26 to August 11.

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Olympic Day Celebrations Hold June 29

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The Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), at the weekend, said the annual Olympic Day celebrations would be held on June 29 across the country.
The Olympic Day is a global event that commemorates the birth of the modern Olympic Movement, founded by Pierre de Coubertin in 1894.
Speaking with news men, the Secretary-General of the NOC, Babatunde Popoola, said this year’s celebration holds special significance as it precedes the highly anticipated Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
It’s where Nigerian athletes will compete and inspire the world with their achievements.
“Olympic Day is a chance for people of all ages and abilities to experience the magic of the Olympic Games in their own communities.
“It is an ideal platform to highlight the benefits of physical activity and the Olympic values of excellence, friendship, and respect,” Popoola said.
Popoola said that NOC had received positive responses from various states and stakeholders, and preparations were well underway for the nationwide celebration.
He added that no fewer than 21 states and the Federal Capital Territory have indicated their plans to organise activities for the event.
The states are: Abia; Anambra; Bayelsa; Delta; Edo; Enugu; Ebonyi; Lagos; Kogi; Gombe; Jigawa; Kebbi; Kano; Kwara; Taraba; Imo; Ondo; Plateau; Rivers; Nasarawa and Osun
Also speaking, the Chairman of the NOC Sport For All Commission, Abdul Ibrahim, said that Olympic Day was a special day to come together, move together, and learn about the Olympic values.
“We encourage everyone to participate and experience the joy that only sport can bring,” he said.
According to him, a series of activities have been lined up in Lagos, with fitness clubs at the National Stadium Complex and the general public gearing up to take part in the global event.
“The celebration will conclude with the presentation of diplomas signed by the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach.
The President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Engr. Habu Ahmed Gumel and other dignitaries will officially flag off the event in Abuja,” he added.

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