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21st NSF: Team Rivers Hopeful Of Good Outing

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About halfway through the ongoing 21st National Sports Festival, Asaba 2022, Team Rivers is struggling to make impression on the medals table, given that there are still many events on preliminary stages, there is still hope and expectation that the team Rivers would finish impressively on the medals table.
As at press time, Team Rivers has won one gold, two silver and four bronze  medals, currently occupying  the fifth position on the official medals table, after failing to losing out in three events it qualified for the gold medal rounds yesterday. The State’s athletes had chances to pick gold medals in swimming 50metres Backstroke, 100metres Breaststroke and 200metres freestyle but failed to make any hit.
But speaking in an interview, the Head Coach of Para-tennis, Peter Simeon Ambakaderemo, yesterday at the Stephen Keshi Stadium shortly after one of their events, said he was still optimistic that his team would give the State at least three gold medals.
However, he complained about poor organisation and frequent changing of draws and time.
“Honestly, to me the organisers of the festival are not trying at all because they keep on rescheduling draws that have been made.
It is disheartening to note that Delta State officials meet the referees and change draws and schedules. This has severally caused arguments and fight between coaches.
I have not experienced such a thing before at any sports festival, in fact I am tired of the whole thing,” Ambakaderemo said.
Also speaking, Team Rivers Handball Coach, Loveday Ikiriko, expressed sadness as their male team  lost massively to Lagos State 30 – 12 in their first preliminary game.
According to him, there is still hope to clinch a medal before the end of their event, either from the male or female category.
“One of our major problems is that  we didn’t prepare on time, we only entered into camping one week to the event and that was not enough for a major festival of this nature.
I plead that arrangement should be made  subsequently for us to be in camp early, because in any competition,early preparation is important,”  Ikiriko said.
Also speaking, the Head Coach of Shooting, Mary Ikpeamaeze, expressed optimism that her athletes will give Team Rivers at least two goal medals.
According to her, already they had won one bronze medal and some events are still on the way.

By: Tonye Orabere

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Ghana Legend Names Okocha Africa’s Best

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Ghana star, Mohammed Kudus has named Nigerian legend Austin ‘Jay-Jay’ Okocha as his greatest African footballer of all time, drawing parallels between Okocha’s style of play and his own.
Kudus, currently plying his trade with West Ham United, praised Okocha for his exceptional skills and entertainment value on the pitch.
Okocha’s illustrious career includes numerous achievements such as winning the Goal of the Year award in Germany in 1993, multiple Nigerian Footballer of the Year titles, and being named the BBC African Footballer of the Year twice.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Kudus expressed his admiration for Okocha, emphasising the lasting impact of his creative flair and ability to entertain fans. He highlighted Okocha’s unique style of play as a source of inspiration for him as a young footballer.
”I will say Jay Jay Okocha. I will say explaining from my lens how I see creative players and entertain. That can never be washed away and the fans can never forget that,” Kudus told our source.
Despite joining West Ham United last summer, Kudus has quickly established himself as a crucial player for David Moyes’ side.
With stellar performances throughout the season, Kudus has garnered attention for his impressive contributions on the pitch. In his debut season, the midfielder has netted an impressive 13 goals in 38 appearances, solidifying his role as a key player for the club.

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HFN Sets Deadline For League Registration  

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The Handball Federation of Nigeria (HFN) have called on teams that will participate in the Ardova Handball Premier League 2024 to complete all documentary registration on or before May 4, 2024.
The Ardova Handball Premier League 2024 kick off with phase 1 to hold in Benin City, Edo State from May 12th to the 25th , 2024 and the HFN said all teams must document all their registration regarding player registrations, loans and transfers as soon as the 4th of May 2024 according to a statement addressed the officials of the twenty two participating teams by the Secretary General of the Handball Federation of Nigeria (HFN) Mr. Almu Umar Lambu.
“A total of 25 players and 4 officials shall be registered for the Season as there shall be no more registration in the Second Phase and all participating clubs should note that documentary registration of players, transfers and loans shall be completed on or before 4th May, 2024.” Mr. Lambu said.
Mr. Lambu also revealed that the HFN will hold an anti-doping seminar for players and officials during the course of the first phase of the Ardova Handball Premier League 2024 in Benin City, Edo State.
“Also Clubs should note that there will be Anti-Doping Seminar during the league to be organised by the HFN Medical and Anti-Doping Commission” Mr. Lambu concludes.
The top tier Handball league which is the biggest handball event in Nigeria, was to begin on April 28 through to May 11, 2024 but has now being shifted by two weeks by the Handball Federation of Nigeria for effective preparation in tandem with the sponsor Ardova PLC and will now hold from May 12 to 25, 2024.
Teams are expected to arrive Benin City on May 12, 2024 while hostilities will then begin the next day, May 13 through to May 24, 2024. Departure is May 25, 2024.

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Athletics: Ofili, Nathaniel Qualify For Paris Olympics

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Favour Ofili and Ezekiel Nathaniel have booked their places to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Ofili won the women’s 200-meter event in day one of the Tom Jones Invitational on Friday, hosted by Florida at James G. Pressly Stadium in Gainesville.
The Port Harcourt, Nigeria, native blazed out of the blocks and clocked an event-winning time and No. 4 time in the world of 22.33 seconds (+1.4 m/s).
She defeated Anavia Battle who came through in 22.56s and Ida Karstoft in a new National Record of 22.60s
Her time dips under the Paris 2024 Olympics’ standard of 22.57 seconds, punching her ticket to the Olympics in her first season after turning pro.
It is her fastest time outdoors since 2022 where she set the Nigerian National Record of 21.96s the same year.
Nathaniel on his part shattered the Nigerian 400m Record at the Tom Jones Invitational, running a brilliant 48.29s.
The feat has seen Nathaniel automatically qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics, surpassing the Olympic standard by almost half a second.
Chris Robinson of the United States won in a time of 47.95s ahead of Clement Ducos, who ran 48.26s.
Meanwhile, in the Men’s High Jump event, Nigeria’s Erhire Best won clearing a Season’s Best (SB) of 2.21m.
He defeated Riyon Rankin on countback, having needed just one attempt to clear the winning mark while Rankin took three tries. BJ Jennings was 3rd with 2.13m.

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