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Aiteo Cup: NNL Teams Quit NPFL  Big Shots

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Nigeria National League sides Bayelsa United, Gombe United, Niger Tornadoes and Gateway United continued their impressive run in the round of 16 of the 2021 Aiteo Cup with victories over Nigeria Professional Football League sides on Wednesday.
Bayelsa, who sent favourites Enugu Rangers packing in the previous round, pulled off the biggest upset in the round with a comfortable 2-0 win over Lobi Stars at the Owerri centre, while Niger Tornadoes held their nerves in the closing minutes to book a quarter-final spot at the expense of Abia Warriors, winning 3-2 in Makurdi.
Gateway beat 10-man Wikki Tourists 4-3 on penalties after regulation time ended goalless in Enugu, while Gombe United knocked Katsina United out of the competition 5-4 on penalties after 90 minutes of action had ended 1-1.
Green Berets, who beat struggling NPFL side Warri Wolves July 7, could not repeat the heroics against Sunshine Stars, losing 5-4 on penalties after regulation time ended goalless. Kebbi United held Kano Pillars 0-0 but lost through the lottery of penalties 3-2 to their more illustrious opponents. In a clash of NPFL teams, Nasarawa United humbled Plateau United 3-1 at the Lokoja venue while Rivers United beat Heartland 2-1 in Aba.
Gateway United entertains fellow NNL side, Bayelsa United, in the quarter-finals, while Kano Pillars slugs it out with Sunshine Stars. Rivers United will hope to book a semi-final ticket against Niger Tornadoes as in-form Nasarawa United tries to avoid an upset against Gombe United.
In the women’s category, FC Robo booked their place in the semi-finals of the competition, beating Nasarawa Amazons 3-2 on penalties after full-time ended 1-1. Edo Queens scaled to the next round after beating Osun Babes 4-3 on penalties after regulation time ended 1-1.
Bayelsa Queens were 2-0 winners over Delta Queens while the postponed fixture between Bright Future and Rivers Angels is scheduled to hold today.

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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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