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NYG: Team Rivers In Record Medal Haul …Delta, Champions Again

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As the curtain fell on the 6th National Youth Games (NYG) 2021 inside the University of Ilorin Complex, yesterday, Team Rivers emerged overall fifth with a record haul of medals.
Despite targeting a podium finish, the team recorded a total of 33 medals, 11 gold, eight silver and14 bronze medals to record her best performance and medal haul since the inception of the Games in 2013.
The team after a slow start was on line for a podium finish until a combination of late gold rush, particularly, by Lagos and Bayelsa teams and illluck in some medal contests saw them lose ground on the penultimate day of the Games.
However, Team Rivers was in the mix for the medal rush in the final two days as Daniel Mba secured gold in golf’s Ecletics event for boys with a total gross of 74 and Christie Obomanu won silver in match play for girls. She had won gold the previous day in stroke play with a score of 82 gross.
Basketball also delivered gold as the Fubara Onyenabo tutored boys showed class, dominating their Ebonyi counterparts 21 -12 in the semi final before edging out Bauchi 16-15 in the gold medal match. It was one of the most keenly contested basketball event in the history of the Games.
Tennis provided gold in the mixed event, Shot put, boys, a silver, 4 by 100 m, a bronze and Amarachukwu Ezeakor got silver in Chess.
Added to the basketball gold on the final day were a gold medal in Kung Fu, where Cynthia Phillips subdued her opponent from Nasarawa via Technical Knock Out (TKO).
During the closing ceremony, Rivers further secured silver and bronze in 4 by 400 mixed relay and 200m, boys.
For Team Delta, it was medal blitz from Day 1 to the last day, clinching the first position with a whopping haul of 114 medals, 60 gold, 26 silver and 28 bronze medals.
They were in a blitzing form on the final day, especially, the closing ceremony events, claiming all the four gold medals available in 200m girls, 200m boys, 4 by 100 m mixed relay and 4 by 400 m mixed relay.
Speaking just before the closing ceremony, the leader of Team Rivers delegation and Permanent Secretary of Rivers State Ministry of Sports, Sir Honour Sirawoo described the state’s performance as a tremendous achievement, finishing top five and recording the number of medals they did for the first time.
“The beauty of it all is that there’s improvement on performance, judging from previous performances in 2018 and 2019. In sports, what you desire is development and improvement. We have learnt our lessons from this experience and I assure that from next time, based on what we have discovered now, which we’re going to work on, we are definitely going to do better”.
Top 10 on the medal table are Delta with 114 medals, Lagos with 72 medals, Bayelsa with 46 medals, Ogun with 45 medals Edo with 40 medals, FCT with 36 medals, Rivers had 33 medals, the Host state; Kwara grabbed 32 medals, Oyo with 31 medals and Ondo state with 30 medals among every other performing states.

By: Gabriel Nwanetanya

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… As Coach Expresses Optimism To Qualify For 2026 W’Cup

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Newly appointed Super Eagles coach Finidi George has set his sights firmly on securing qualification for the 2026 World Cup, demanding unwavering commitment from his top players as the team aims to get their faltering qualifying campaign back on track.
Unveiled to the media in Abuja on Monday, Finidi, who succeeded the outgoing Portuguese coach Jose Peseiro, wasted no time in laying out his immediate priorities, two crucial 2026 World Cup qualifiers against South Africa and Benin early next month.
“Nigeria comes first, that’s what I expect from every player I invite. You have to be playing in your club, and you must have the commitment,” Finidi told reporters on Monday.
Recognising the importance of a strong start, the former Ajax winger emphasised the significance of the upcoming clash against South Africa.
“The first targets are to qualify for the World Cup and AFCON (Africa Cup of Nations), and a win over South Africa will set the tone.”
Nigeria currently finds itself in third place in their qualifying group, with just two points from as many games, while South Africa sits second with three points.
Finidi, who has signed a year’s contract with an option for an additional year, acknowledged the immense pressure that comes with leading the national team of a country with over 200 million people.
However, he exuded confidence in his ability to withstand the scrutiny, stating, “I have a tough skin.”
While his salary remains undisclosed, the 53-year-old coach expressed a willingness to prioritise performance over immediate financial rewards.
“The salary is good enough for me, it’s not as much as that of (Jose) Peseiro.
“Money is good, but if you add value to what you do, the money will come. Then they can come and ask ‘Coach, how much do you want?” Finidi said.

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I’m Not Under Pressure, I’ve Tough Skin – Finidi

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New Super Eagles Coach, Finidi George, has underlined that the word pressure is not in his dictionary and appealed for support from key stakeholders including the media.
Speaking after his unveiling yesterday in Abuja, the former Enyimba of Aba coach said; “In life you cannot be afraid. As you see me here, I am a quiet person but I’m not afraid of anything. The worst you can get in football is not getting the result, the best you can get is winning all the time, and I will try my best to make sure that the team functions properly and we start winning games.”
On whether is under pressure to justify his appointment, the coach stressed; “Pressure, I don’t think I have it. I have that tough skin and I want to plead you guys, the media we need your support.
“What is in the contract is boldly written, what the NFF wants and Nigeria in general, but for me personally my first target is to make sure we are in line to qualify for the World Cup. AFCON qualifiers definitely will be coming up soon, but the major step for me is these two games that we have.
“If we can win against South Africa and Benin, we will set the tone.”
During the unveiling ceremony, the NFF confirmed that ex-Super Eagles striker; Daniel Amokachi and Abiden Baruwa will be the assistant coach and goalkeeper coach respectively.
The first assignment for Finidi, who won the Champions League with Ajax in 1995, is to qualify for the 2026 World Cup.

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Amusan Becomes World’s Fastest Woman, Sets New Track Record

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Nigerian sprint icon Tobi Amusan has become the world’s fastest woman in the women’s 100m hurdles after running a world-leading 12.40 seconds.
In a thrilling race, the world record holder secured the victory, leaving behind Danielle Williams, the world champion, who clocked her best time of the season at 12.46 seconds. Following closely was American Christina Clemons, claiming the third spot with a time of 12.54 seconds.
This triumph means the Nigerian athlete has now claimed the top spot globally, surpassing American Tonea Marshall’s previous record of 12.42 seconds set in late April.
Tobi Amusan’s impressive win arrives just two months before the Paris 2024 Olympics, setting the stage for an exciting competition ahead.
John Enoh, the minister of sports development, on his X handle congratulated Amusan over the feat.
Take your flowers Tobi Amusan, you stormed to an emphatic win in the women’s 100m hurdles at the Jamaica Athletics Invitational, clocking a time of 12.40s (0.9), a World Lead time!
You defeated World Champion Danielle Williams, who came 2nd in 12.46s, while Christina Clemons.
“Take your flowers Tobi Amusan, you stormed to an emphatic win in the women’s 100m hurdles at the Jamaica Athletics Invitational, clocking a time of 12.40s (0.9), a World Lead time! You defeated World Champion Danielle Williams, who came 2nd in 12.46s, while Christina Clemons was 3rd in 12.54s,” he wrote.
“Tobi, you keep making our country proud. Paris Olympics is around the corner, your performance gives us hope just like others, that Nigeria is set to break a jinx. Keep soaring, we are proud of you.”

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