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AFN Targets New Talents As Okowa Awards Scholarships

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Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) President, Tonobok Okowa, says the sixth National Youth Games holding in Ilorin will serve as fresh talent recruitment ground for the federation.
Defending champions, Team Delta, arrived Ilorin with a contingent of over 750 athletes and officials.
Okowa, who is the chairman of Delta State Sport’s Commission, told Newsmen that the athletes were ready to defend their title.
A praise and worship session was held for the team on Saturday evening at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba, where the Secretary to the state government, Patrick Ukah, who represented Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, urged the athletes to do everything possible to defend their title.
He said: “As soon as athletics event starts, I will shift my attention to track and field because the AFN will use the National Youth Games to recruit athletes who will step into the shoes of some ageing ones. As for Team Delta, we have worked very hard for these games, and I am sure we will emerge victorious again. The state government has given us the support we need, and we are very grateful to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and the entire executive council.”
Okowa revealed that 11 of the young athletes discovered at the 2019 edition of the National Youth Games were given academic scholarship by the state government to combine their education with sports in the United States last year, adding that four others have just joined them.
He said, “when we discover young athletes, we keep them and nurture them,” Okowa stated.
Meanwhile, organisers of the youth games have assured participants of a hitch-free event, saying the minor hitches recorded on the opening day have been taken care of.
Team Edo contingent, yesterday, complained that they were left outside the hostels provided for the teams, adding that there were no official to attend to them.
Team Edo leader, Sabina Amiemenoghena Chikere, said she had to make alternative private hostel accommodation for the women athletes and questioned why the LOC will fix a tournament of this magnitude when students of the University of Ilorin were still writing their examinations.
However, an official of the LOC, who pleaded anonymity, said that the hiccup experienced by Edo is a minute problem that has been sorted out, adding that such problems usually occur on arrival days in multi-sport events.
“Most schools are in session. It makes hostel accommodation for many states difficult. But we have moved the affected states to polytechnic hostels around the state capital. Edo is not the only state affected”, he said.
“We are satisfied with the level of preparedness of University of Ilorin ahead of the competition and members of the Sports Directors’ Forum have also expressed their delight at the arrangements in place for the games.”
Also, the LOC has announced a slight adjustment to the time line of the competition with the opening ceremony initially scheduled for Wednesday now moved to Thursday.

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Nigeria U16 To Battle Belgium, Others In UEFA Tourney

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Nigeria U16 national team, nicknamed Future Eagles will trade tackles with Belgium, Italy and England in UEFA U16 Development Tournament.
All games are to be played at the Pinatar Arena Football Center in San Pedro del Pinatar.
The Future Eagles are presently at Remo Stars Stadium Ikenne preparing for an U16 tournament before they leave for Spain today.
Meanwhile, the Future Eagles continued their preparations for their tournament in Spain with a 2-0 win over Beyond Limits’ U-15 side in Ikenne.

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Tennis: 72 Players To Feature In TPPA UTR Tourney

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Seventy-two Nigerian youth tennis players will feature at the maiden edition of the Tennis Players’ Parents Association UTR Nationals.
The TPPA UTR Nationals are the culmination of the regional events held across the six geopolitical zones in Nigeria.
The tournament takes place from April 8–13 at the tennis section of the Lagos Country Club, Ikeja.
The five-day event will have over 72 players from across the country in the boys and girls categories for the U-12, U-14, and U-16, respectively.
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos on Tuesday, the Tennis Players Association President, Segun Aluko, said winners of this year’s edition will receive educational support and equipment.
He also stated that the tournament aims to groom and nurture young tennis players in the country to stardom and help them bridge the gap between tennis at the youth and senior levels.
“As you all know, we have been doing great at the junior levels, but we need to ensure we groom more players who will also move up to the senior level and dominate the world scene, just like Novak Djokovic.
“TPPA UTR Nationals is a tournament organised to give opportunities to young tennis players to realise their dreams.
Meanwhile, our correspondent learned that the reigning champion of the J30 Abuja ITF World Junior Tour, Khadijat Mohammed, tops the list of players who got a wild card to play at the tournament.
In the boys U-12, Ahenjir Tertema, Mohammed Okandeji, Samuel Adegbite, and Korede Ogunkolade were listed, while Success Godwin, Barakat Ganiyu, and Grace Oritingbeni made the cut in the girls category.
In the boys’ U-14, Folaranmi Fafowora, Nathaniel Aluko, and Gabriel Igbinovia will battle for honours just as Bisola Ogunkolade and Lorelay Holzendorff will in the girls’ U-14.
For the U-16 girls, Jasmine Osho, Ndidi Osaji, and Adesewa Olaniyan received wild cards just as Kushimo Quzeem and Precious Aliya did for the U-16 boys.

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AAG:Nigeria Boxing Coach Decries Non-Payment Of Allowances

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Team Nigeria boxing head coach, Tony Konyegwachie, has expressed his displeasure over non-payment of allowances to some of the boxers who won laurels for the country at the 13th African Games in Ghana, Tidesports source reports.
Team Nigeria topped the boxing medals table at the Games with eight gold and two silver medals , but they have yet to be paid almost two weeks after the Games ended in Ghana, with three gold medallists Adam Olaore, Patricia Mbata and Cynthia Ogunsemilore, as well as Konyegwachie featuring prominently on the list despite promises made by the Sports Minister, John Enoh that athletes will not encounter any delay in getting their allowances.
A day before the end of the Games, the Ministry of Sports Development stated that it had begun payments of athletes and officials’ camp allowances and bonuses for winning medals.
“Today the 22nd of March, the athletes started receiving their camp allowances,” sports minister’s aide Diana-Mary Nsan said in the statement.
“A lot of athletes had doubts and fears but the trust and confidence has been restored. Athletes who won medals will also get their bonuses.”
“It’s unfortunate that some of our colleagues have been paid while we’re yet to receive any alert. We’re appealing to the Honourable Minister to wade into the matter and make sure we’re paid because our families are hungry and we need the money to settle some debts,” coach Konyegwachie said.
“I am very angry and it is making me bitter. I want it to be investigated as I feel some boxers are being robbed, three of my boxers and I have not been paid bonuses for the African Games while others have gotten theirs.”
Aside from the allowances, payments promised gold medallists are also being withheld. One of the boxer, Omole Dolapo, who has received his allowance told our correspondent that he was yet to get his bonus for his gold medals.
“I have gotten the allowance, but I know some of my colleagues are yet to get theirs. For the medal bonus, I have not received that, and we are still waiting for the payment,” he said.

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