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Poor Funding Hampers Basketball Dev

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Female basketball players  in competition

Female basketball players in competition

The Nigeria Basketball
Federation (NBBF) has attributed the challenges facing the sport in the country to the failure of governments to meet their obligations to sports development.
NBBF’s Technical Commissioner, Ajibarede Bello, made the assertion in an interview with newsmen on Saturday, in Asaba, at the ongoing Zenith Bank Female Basketball League.
He said that over the years, basketball in Nigeria had suffered untold hardships due to poor funding and lack of facilities, a situation, he noted, had affected its development.
“It is saddening that governments have failed to meet their obligations to the development of basketball, and other sports which have kept us where we are today in the global sports.
“The development of facilities in the country has been stagnant. Sports development is big business and you cannot achieve success without adequate funding.
“Take for instance, only Dolphins of Port Harcourt among the teams playing in the league have standard training facilities.
“We should not forget that standard facilities are key to sports development,’’ he said.
Bello also lamented the welfare packages for players in the national league, stressing that due to lack of funding, many teams had failed to meet their obligations to players to encourage them.
He observed that many of the players in the league were not placed on salaries, adding that many of them struggled to acquire training kits and other personal effects needed for personal development.
“In terms of players’ development, we are lagging behind because what we have in the league today are just semi-professionals who do not have stable means of livelihood.
“There are no incentives to motivate the players.
“The governments need to step up funding to promote basketball because over the years, Nigeria has remained a basketball powerhouse in Africa.
“Only last year, we were crowned African champions,’’ Bello said.
On the standard of the ongoing tournament, the commissioner said that the federation was impressed with the quality of play, acknowledging the competitiveness of the participating teams.
He said: “The standard of this tournament has been very high because no team is a push over, you can see that everybody is sweating to win.
“We are very impressed with the performances of the teams.’’
Bello, who gave kudos to the Delta Basketball Association for providing the administrative framework for the success of the tournament, also lauded the level of officiating at the tournament.
“As a technical official, I must tell you that officiating at this tournament have been very fair.
“We have no problem with that. We are impressed by the conduct of the officials handling the games,’’ he said.
That in some of the games played on Friday night, First Deep Water beat Oluyole Babes 56-48; Customs defeated AHIP 74-57, while Delta Force beat GT 2000 49-46.

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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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