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Grenada Promotion Delights Ighalo

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Nigerian forward Odion Ighalo is ecstatic after helping his Spanish side Grenada into the Segunda Division with a strike in their 2-1 aggregate victory in the play-off.

The 20-year-old Nigerian youth international had been on loan at the Spanish team from Serie A side Udinese.

Ighalo scored one in the 2-0 first leg victory before Granada sealed an historic promotion place despite a 1-0 loss in the second leg.

Overall he scored 17 goals in 27 games which immensely contributed to Granada’s epic promotion after a tortuous 23-year wait.

“It was brilliant to get a goal in the play-off and even though I dropped two steps down I am so happy for what I have done here, coming here has helped me a lot.

“I couldn’t hold my joy as the people of Granada celebrated emotionally after a twenty-three year wait and that’s a long time.

“Being here has been highly rewarding for me and I must say that it is indeed a mission accomplished for me here.

Already Ighalo has attracted interest from top French, Spanish, Dutch and German clubs but Udinese want their man back.

“I have kept focused though, and my aim was always to get playing time which Granada afforded me so I could fight for my place at Udinese.

“This was very important for me, and I am happy that clubs are talking to my agent and Udinese.

“The underlying factor would be regular football in influenced his desire to play in the Spanish second division.

A morale-boosting performance after a forgettable FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Egypt was vital for the former Julius Berger and Lyn Oslo man ahead of next season.

Ighalo added: “I heard several comments after the World Cup and when I moved to Spain but in life you do not let the past influence your unforeseen future.

“I have grown as a man, going down where no one expected has also taught me a lot about life because the people of Granada celebrated promotion like they have won the Champions League itself.

“Whether I go back to Udinese or another top division side, I will take with me lessons from Egypt and Spain with the hope that I will be a better man.”

Ighalo captained the Nigeria Under-20 side that crashed to Germany in the second round of the 2009 Fifa World Cup in Egypt.

He was also part of the Nigeria squad for their 2008 Olympic qualifiers but failed to make the final 22-man list to the 2008 Beijing Olympics Football event where Dream Team IV won silver.

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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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