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Nigeria’s Relay Team Clinches Gold At U-20 Athletics Championship

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Nigeria had a great first day to remember at the World Athletics U-20 Championships yesterday, as the 4 x 400m mixed relay team won the gold medal.
Johnson Nnamani, Imaobong Nse Uko, Opeyemi Oke and Bamidele Ajayi broke the championships record on the way to winning gold in a time of 3:19.70 after also breaking the championships record in their heats victory in a time of 3:21.66 earlier in the day.
Nigeria thus won its first World U-20 gold since 2008 when Folashade Abugan won the women’s 400m title in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
Uko ran a blistering second leg, powering to the first position after collecting the baton from third-place Nnamani, before handing over to Oke, who ran the third leg.
Ajayi, who ran the anchor, also overcame a late resistance from Poland’s Patryk Grzegorzewicz on the home straight, to win the gold medal for Nigeria.
In other races, Team Nigeria captain Godson Oghenebrume ran the second fastest time of 10.22secs in the men’s 100m semi-final to qualify for yesterday’s final, while Praise Ofoku also qualified for the women’s 100m final in 11.57secs.
Tima Godbless was however not as lucky as she could only place fifth in her semi-final to miss out on a final slot. Her time was the fastest non-qualifier.
Earlier in the day, Uko ran the fastest time of the three heats – 52.33secs – to qualify for the final of the women’s 400m last Saturday.
Chinecherem Nnamdi threw a national U20 record to top the standings in the men’s javelin throw qualification, with the javelin landing at a mark of 78.02m in Group A.
Nigeria win 4x400m mixed relay gold at World Athletics U-20 Championships
Meanwhile, Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, has hailed the 4x400m mixed relay team for their gold-winning feat.
Dare said the win should serve as a new start for the Tonobok Okowa-led board of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria.
“I want to specially congratulate our U-20 team for making history in Nairobi. This gold is for all Nigerians and this should serve as the perfect start the new board of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria needs to correct the ills of the immediate past and return Nigeria among the major athletics nations in the world,” Dare said.
“I remember how dominant we were in the early years of the championships, when we dominated the sprints and quarter mile events. I still vividly recall how Tina Iheagwam, Falilat Ogunkoya and Mary Onyali dominated the 100m and 200m events at the inaugural edition of the championships in Athens, Greece in 1986. I also remember we won the women’s 400m in successive editions. Who will forget how Francis Obikwelu became the second sprinter to win the 100m and 200m in 1996 in Sydney, Australia?

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D’Tigress’ Onyemere Celebrates X Billboard Appearance

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Stunning Nigeria D’Tigress forward, Michaela Onyemere recently celebrated her appearance on the X (Twitter) billboard campaign, describing it as a dream come true.
The Chicago Sky player, who is part of the D’Tigress roster for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, shared her excitement on Instagram, advising her fans not to give up their dream but to work towards their realisation.
She wrote, “If you tweet it, you can be it. I am so honoured to be a part of this Twitter billboard campaign alongside so many other influential people. Chase your dreams to the fullest extent, no matter how crazy people think you might be. I was 13 when I tweeted this, and eight years later, here we are! If you can believe it, I promise you can be it. Dream big always.”
According to her, the billboards are located in New York at 7th Ave and 49th Street, 42nd Street and 8th Ave, Times Square, Bryant Park Subway Station, and newsstands throughout Midtown; San Francisco in Kearney WS and Montgomery Muni Station; Los Angeles in the Hollywood Roosevelt and Sepulveda WS.
Onyemwere was selected sixth overall in the first round of the 2021 WNBA Draft, and she got off to a flying start with the New York Liberty; her average of 8.6 points and 2.9 rebounds per game, plus 37 three-pointers made, was the highest among all rookies in her class.

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OlympAfrica Chess Competition Holds In PH …Boy Six Performs Excellently

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OlympAfrica University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT)  Centre recently held Schools Chess Competition, at Professor Ken Anugweje building UNIPORT Sports complex.
The competition was between some selected primary and secondary schools in Rivers State, which attracted huge attendance , including some professional Chess players.
The Director of OlympAfrica UNIPORT centre in Nigeria, Dr. Chukwuemeka Agi in different fora has said the purpose of the competition was to help children build their career and encourage them.
“The reason why OlympAfrica organise various sporting tournaments and competitions was to assist the young ones build their career in any sport.
“You know is better we catch them young and direct their footsteps to enable them become useful to themselves and the nation”, Dr. Agi said.
Speaking with Victor Ayanwale,  the youngest player age six, in the competition, from King Amachree Sports Academy, in Harry’s Town, Rivers State, said his dream was to become one of the best Chess players in the world.
According to him, he started playing Chess at the age of five, mentored by his father, saying that he enjoys playing the game as it helps him to reason help.
“ I  started playing Chess at the age of five, it was my father that was teaching me. I want to become number in one Chess in this country.
“I enjoy playing Chess because it makes me happy and think well. I want other children to play Chess because it is good”, Ayanwale said.
Highlight of the event was presentation of medals, certificates and trophies to winners.

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Female Athletes Are Nigeria’s Olympic Hopefuls – NOC 

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The Secretary-General of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Tunde Popoola, has said that Nigeria’s medal hopes at the Paris Olympics largely rest on female athletes such as Tobi Amusan and Ese Brume.
Despite participating in the Olympics since 1952, Nigeria has only secured a total of 27 medals, including just two gold medals, both won in 1996 in Atlanta.
This remains the country’s most successful outing, with Chioma Ajunwa winning gold in the women’s long jump and the football team, led by Kanu Nwankwo, clinching the second at the expense of super powers Argentia and Brazil.
“The men dominated previously, but this time, it’s all about the women. They qualified for the football event and almost every single event in athletics. It’s a good thing, and we appreciate their growth,” he said in an interview with Tidesports source.
“The women have done more because they are more committed. I’m not saying the men aren’t, but women are more dedicated, and that’s the reason they are doing well.”
Ajunwa’s achievement in 1996 stands out as Nigeria’s only individual Olympic gold medal, highlighting the persistent trend of Nigeria’s female athletes consistently outperforming their male counterparts.
This trend continued at the 2000 Sydney Games, where Gloria Alozie secured a silver medal in the women’s 110-metre hurdles, salvaging Nigeria’s presence on the podium.
In the most recent Tokyo Games, Team Nigeria won two medals, both from women: Brume, who claimed bronze in the women’s long jump, and Blessing Oborududu, who won silver in wrestling.
With the Paris Games only weeks away, it appears hopes are once again pinned on the women to bring home medals.
Nigeria’s female athletes are world-class, while many of their male counterparts, particularly in athletics, are less experienced.
Taiwo Popoola, Vice President of the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation, echoed these sentiments, attributing the women’s success to their dedication.
“The women have done more because they are more committed. I’m not saying the men aren’t, but women are more dedicated, and that’s the reason they are doing well,” he said.
To put the NTF VP’s statement in perspective, Elizabeth Anyanacho, another female athlete, is the only qualified taekwondoist for the Paris Olympics. She was also Nigeria’s only representative in the sport at Tokyo 2022.
Nigeria’s medal hopes in Paris largely rest on the shoulders of athletes like Tobi Amusan, Brume, wrestlers Oborududu, and Odunayo Adekuruoye.
Amusan, in particular, is a standout athlete. She set a world record time of 12.40 seconds in the women’s hurdles in Kingston, Jamaica, in May 2024.

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