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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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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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