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West African T/ Tennis Tourney Kicks Off In Lagos

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The second edition of the ITTF Africa Western Region Championship serves off at the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos on Monday.
Hosts Nigeria will slug it out with Ghana, Ivory Coast, Benin Republic, Togo, and Liberia at the four-day championship with teams competing for honours in seven events.
Already, the stage is set with junior sensation Samuel Boboye and Azeez Solanke spearheading the Nigeria team for the championship, while national champion Fatimo Bello leads the women’s team at the tournament.
Men’s singles champion, Oba Oba Kizito, flew in from Paris in his bid to defend his title, while Bello will also be wading off contests from Ghanaians and others in her quest to hold on to her women’s singles title.
Secretary-General, ITTF Africa Western Region, Germain Karou, said all was set for the championship.
“We are happy that our region is getting back to action after the Covid-19 pandemic, which prevented the staging of the tournament in 2020. But as usual, Lagos being the host, a table tennis lovers will be treated to exciting matches from teams and players from the region.
It promises to be explosive as some of the players are ready to clinch the titles in the absence of the top players like Quadri Aruna in the region,” Karou, who is also the President, Ivory Coast Table Tennis Federation, said.
Chairman, Lagos State Sports Commission, Sola Aiyepeku, said Lagos was ready to host the tournament in compliance with Covid-19 protocols.
“We will do everything to show our visitors ‘This is Lagos’ by ensuring you enjoy your stay in Lagos and partake in an exciting hitch-free tournament. More importantly, creating a veritable platform for our players in Africa to demonstrate and improve their skills will go a long way to continue identifying, promoting and preparing them ahead for future competitions beyond the continent,” Aiyepeku said.

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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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