Teenage sensation, Sunday Akintan, 17, is among athletes in Abuja from different parts of the country to jostle for inclusion in the country’s squad to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games scheduled for July and August.
The competition in Abuja is the third and final leg of the All Comers competition, which involves the country’s best athletes. The All Comers competition began at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin in March, moved to Yaba College of Technology Sports Ground, Lagos, last month and is now making its final stop in Abuja.
While the competition in Lagos was used as the final window for home-based athletes to secure the qualification standard for the 22nd African Senior Athletics Championships scheduled to hold in Mauritius in June, the Abuja event will serve as the final chance for the athletes to secure places in the AFN Classics scheduled to hold in Benin in a fortnight.
According to AFN Secretary General, Adeniyi Beyioku, the event in Abuja will begin today and end tomorrow. The AFN scribe told The Tidesport in a telephone chat yesterday that majority of the athletes have settled down in their various hotels in Abuja.
AFN Technical Director, Samuel Onikeku, said the All Comers competition was designed to give athletes the competition they need to aid their preparations for major athletics championships and games this summer. “The AFN is happy with the performances of some of the athletes as they prepare for the major events ahead, starting with the African championships in Mauritius next month. Our team to the championships will be dominated by home-based athletes and the federation is happy to always get them ready in terms of competitions,” he stated.
Onikeku said, from the competition and others organised by coaches in some states across Nigeria, the athletes have continued to impress. “It is heartwarming to note that a number of our junior athletes have been churning out personal best performances since the start of the season.
“For example, Sunday Akintan, a 17-year-old has jumped from a 10.65 seconds runner just a little over a year ago to run a 10.23 seconds lifetime best. Same as 19-year- old Ogheneovo Nicholas Mabilo, who ran 10.24seconds at the first edition of the AFN All Comers in Benin in March.
“Another teenager, Konyasila Ajayi, improved from a 10.92 seconds personal best to run 10.26 seconds at the Yaba College of Technology sports ground last month, while Gracious Junior Ushie, a 20-year-old also ran a new 10.25 seconds personal best last month in Ilaro.
“Prosper Oghenemine Ekporore’s 13.71s performance in the 110m hurdles in Lagos last month is the fastest any Nigerian man has run since Oyeniyi Abejoye ran 13.69 seconds in June 2019. Abejoye himself was second in the race in Lagos with a 13.72 seconds performance.”
The AFN technical director is also impressed with the women sprinters, including Praise Ofoku, the 100m finalist at the World U-20 championships in Nairobi, Kenya, last year, who ran a new 11.49 seconds personal best in Benin two months ago.
“There is also the story of 16-year-old Rejoice Sule Hadijat, who broke 12 seconds for the first time in her career by running a huge 11.66 seconds personal best in Ijebu Ode three months ago.
“The future of track and field is very bright in Nigeria and with what our athletes are doing in the colleges in America, the AFN is confident Nigeria is on the path to restoring and surpassing her lost glory,” Onikeku said.
RSFCA Holds Coaching Clinic In PH, Today
The Rivers State Football Coaches Association (RSFCA) has concluded arrangements to organise a coaching clinic tagged: “Continuous Professional Development Coaching (CPD),” aimed at developing football coaches in the state.
Chairman of the local organising committee (LOC), Coach Raphael Akunna revealed that the coaching clinic is being organised in conjunction with Bright Stars Sports Agency United Kingdom which will hold at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium starting from tomorrow, and last for two days.
Wuga Birabe, Co/Director MW Sporting World Limited London, England, United Kingdom and other invited instructors are expected to deliver key note lectures.
Dignitaries expected at the opening ceremony today include Sir Honour Sirawoo (Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Sports and President of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria), Barr Chris Green (Special Adviser to Rivers State Governor on Real Madrid), Mr Benjamin Akubor (RSFA), Sarah Davids (Chairman Sports Writers Association of Nigeria Rivers State), Chairman Nigeria Referee Council Rivers State) and other invited guest.
It would be recalled that the Rivers State Football Coaches Association (RSFCA) has conducted a number of coaching courses over the past three years.
The latest was the NFF/NLO/Berackiah Football Grassroots Coaching Clinic course that took place March 7 – 11, 2022 and attracted about 40 participants
Super Six: Why Nasarawa Walked Over Ratels – Chairperson
Chairperson, Nigeria Women’s Football League, Aisha Falode, says Naija Ratels were walked over at the ongoing NWFL Super Six tourney in Benin City, the Edo State capital, after they failed to respect the sponsorship deal for the event.
New girls Ratels were scheduled to clash against former champions Nasarawa Amazons at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium on Monday before they were walked over.
The NWFL had sealed a N16m sponsorship deal for the championship, with all six teams to wear shirts branded by the sponsors.
But Naija Ratels reportedly flouted the rule book, preferring to wear their own jersey branded by another sponsor.
“We walked them over for flaunting the rule of being the club that has not worn the official jersey. We will work on the fixtures and move on, this is what the rule is all about,” Falode said.
“We told them (clubs) each team would get N1m each, while there would be N5m for the winners, N3m for the runners-up and N2m for the second runners-up, meaning N16m was going back to the league.
“This man (Ratels owner), who just qualified for the league for the first time, who is playing in the Super Six for the first time, has come to disorganise what we have done. We have a responsibility; we have a duty to the organisation and those who appointed us to manage this league.”
Falode added, “If you have a shirt sponsorship, you are supposed to write to the league board and as a matter of fact, a percentage of the sponsorship is supposed to come to us but we are not aware they have any sponsorship deal.
When asked if there would be stiffer punishment aside the walkover, the ace sports journalist added, “one step at a time.”
Also, the NWFL Chief Operating Officer, Modupe Shabi, noted that Paul Edeh, Ratels proprietor, contravened the NWFL Statutes on sponsorship.
“Article 7.8 states that all rights contracts to be entered into by any club shall first is subject to the writing and approval of NWFL, before execution,” she said.
Ban On Basketball Bad For Nigeria – Chairman
The Chairman of Retired Basketball Players in Port Harcourt, Fubara Fibika has said that the ban of basketball in Nigeria from international competition by the Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, would cripple the game at the grassroots.
According to him, the best thing to do was to formulate a programme on how to develop the game instead of the ban.
Fibika said this on Monday in an exclusive interview with Tidesports in Port Harcourt, saying that basketball is one of the fastest developing games in the country.
The veteran explained that he has respect for the Sports Minister for his initiative on sports development, but his recent action is not fair at all.
“Bringing politics in Sports will cripple the industry.
What we should think of now is how to promote and develop the game in our locality” Fibika said.
He advised the Sports Minister to rescind his decision, narrating that the ban is not good for the game.
By: Kiadum Edookor
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