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Gov. Umahi’s aide hails SWAN for efforts at reviving sports in Ebonyi

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The Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Ebonyi Governor, Emmanuel Uzor, has hailed the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) for reviving sports in the state.

Uzor gave the commendation on Wednesday in Abakaliki when the association’s members in the state visited to congratulate him for his re-appointment, noting that the government appreciated his efforts.

The CPS said that sports was “dead’’ in Ebonyi before the inception of the present administration but the vibrant coverage of the government’s repositioning policies in sports ensured the revamping of the sector.

“The immediate past administration in the state mismanaged sports probably due to non-comprehension of modern intricacies and trends in sports management.

“The present administration embarked on aggressive sport policies which culminated in the resuscitation of the school sports, paramilitary games and organisation of several competitions.

“This administration will soon unveil its blueprint for consolidating on sports development and continue collaborating with SWAN to ensure sustenance of recorded gains,’’ he said.

He urged SWAN members to expose the corruption and other forms of maladministration recorded in the sports sector at the local, state and federal levels.

“You should expose issues which occur behind the scenes in sports and which pose serious challenges to sportsmen and officials.

“Issues of short-changing and non-payment of athletes’ bonuses and allowances are rife as there are several reports of athletes and officials sleeping inside stadiums during competitions.

“This development poses serious embarrassment to affected state governments and SWAN members should bring such to the fore among other corrupt tendencies in sports.

“You should also embark on aggressive grassroots sports reportage to unearth hidden talents who will be groomed to actualise the state government’s vision for sports,’’ he said.

Uzor said the Olympic size stadium being constructed by the state government would be ready in 16 months as the state-owned team hoped to play its matches there.

“We are also making efforts to ensure that Ebonyi is chosen to host the FIFA U-20 Women World Cup in 2020 as there are hopes that more venues would be selected,’’ he said.

The Ebonyi SWAN chapter Chairman, Chukwuemeka Opara, thanked the CPS for receiving the members, saying the association would continue contributing its quota towards sports development in the state.

“We will ensure that sports are adequately covered in the state, especially at the grassroots as the journey to sports stardom starts with unearthing hidden talents,’’ he said.

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NWPL Champions Shield: Be your best to win, Coach urges Bayelsa Queens

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Coach Moses Aduku of Bayelsa Queens on Friday urged his players to be in their best form with topmost skills to win the Nigeria Women Premier League Champions (NWPL) Shield on Saturday at the Samson Siasia Stadium, Yenagoa, Bayelsa.

Aduku, a Nigerian ex-international who has viewed the Champions Shield as an actual trophy, told members of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) in Yenagoa, that his players were physically, skillfully and mentally ready to win the championship.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the NWPL be between the 2018 League Champions, Bayelsa Queens and AITEO Cup Champions, Rivers Angels on Saturday.

The Bayelsa Queens won the Nigeria Women Premier League for the first time in 2018 since winning it back to back in 2006 and 2007, while Rivers Angels won their 8th AITEO Cup title beating Ibom Angels.

Both teams are looking forward to crowning up their respective titles with the traditional Champions Shield on Saturday.

NAN reports that Rivers Angels won the Champions Shield 2018 in Lagos.

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12th African Games: It feels good jumping for Nigeria in senior category, says Erhire

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As athletics events of the ongoing 12th African Games is scheduled to begin on Aug. 26, Best Erhire, Nigeria representative in the men’s high jump, says he is happy to represent the country.

Erhire, who is debuting in the senior category, told the Nigeria News Agency from Rabat, Morocco that he felt good appearing for the first time in the senior category, promising that he would not disappoint.

The high jump event which is scheduled for Aug. 30 will feature 15 athletes.

“Being my first time in the seniors, the feeling is really good, no mixed feelings at all. I hope to jump up to expectations.

“God willing, I’ll surpass my 2:12m that qualified me for the Games. I just need that push from my competitors,” he said.

The Delta indigene debunked the rumour that he made the team and got selected due to the absence of Mike Edward’s who ranked top in high jump in Nigeria.

“My being selected among the team is not as a result of my mentor’s absence, I will say categorically that if he was here, I would still be listed in the team,” he said.

He also attributed his rising performance to his commitment and God’s grace.

“There’s actually no secret to the past improvement on my performance, I mean every athlete trains like I do or even more, it has been God’s grace and state of mind,” he said.

NAN reports that Erhire won a gold medal at the 2019 African U-18 and also at the U-20 championships in Abidjan.

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African Games: NTRA boss says athletes performing beyond expectations

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Ferguson Oluigbo, President, Nigeria Taekwondo Referees Association (NTRA), says the country’s athletes in this year’s African Games have performed beyond expectations by winning first gold medal for Nigeria on Thursday at the ongoing 12th African Games in Morocco.

Apparently happy that the first gold medal came from Taekwondo, Oluigbo told the Nigeria News Agency on Friday that it was a good starting point for the nation in the taekwondo event and he was impressed with the athletes.

NAN reports that Chinazum Nwosu clinched the gold medal in the female 53kg taekwondo event, while Sunday Onofe and Okuomose Benjamin won bronze medals in the 87kg and -87kg male classes respectively.

NAN also reports that the Nigeria Taekwondo national team comprised of eight male and eight female athletes taking part in required events at the ongoing Games.

“I am not always easily impressed but our taekwondo athletes’ performances in this year’s Games has changed that notion in me because they have overwhelmed me with their skills.

“It is obvious that the NTF technical officials did a fantastic job on the athletes during national camp, I must commend them and say a big kudos to the federation.

“On this happy note, I am saying a big congratulations to the taekwondo family and a very big cheers to Chinazum, Onofe and Benjamin for priding Nigeria in the taekwondo event in Morocco,” he told NAN000.

He said the medallists had set the ball rolling for other taekwondoists to follow as they represent the country in their events, adding that they must equally have podium finish.

The NTRA boss said that the victorious performances of the taekwondoists in the Games had increased expectations of Nigeria on the medal table in the thirteen-day event.

“We are expecting more gold medals from the likes of Otuadinma, a 2015 gold medallist in 73kg female class, Ifeoluwa, Okoko, Esuka and others because it’s a medal winning hope for Nigeria’s,” he added.

NAN reports that the 12th African Games which began on Aug. 19 in Rabat, Morocco, with Nigeria’s 427 athletes and officials among other 54 countries featuring 26 sports will end Aug. 31.

MIL/PDE

(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)

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Newcastle not in crisis but need results- Manager

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London, Aug. 23, 2019 Newcastle United’s poor start to the season has been blown out of proportion but the best way for the club to stem the “mini crisis” is to start winning games, manager Steve Bruce said on Friday.

Newcastle lost their first two league games against Arsenal and promoted Norwich City and the low-key performances have made critics question whether Bruce was the right man to replace Rafa Benitez.

Bruce, who is one of the odds-on favourites to be the first manager to lose his job, is also looking to avoid becoming the first Newcastle boss to lose his opening three Premier League games.

“After two games there is a so-called mini crisis. Everything is over-sensationalised,” Bruce told reporters ahead of Sunday’s trip to Tottenham Hotspur.

“There’s always a storm in Newcastle, at the minute we’re in one. The only way I can shut a few people up is by getting results. The buck stops with me.

“It’s not for me to comment on what’s been said… It’s two games and I just want it to be fair and responsible.

“ I know the only way I can shut people up is by winning games and I know the quicker the better.”

Unlike Benitez, who used a back-five or a back-four last season to lead them to a 13th-placed finish, Bruce has deployed a back-three formation which he insists the team will continue to use with Joelinton and Miguel Almiron leading the attack.

“We may tinker a bit and change a couple of things. It’s too early to change formations,” Bruce said.

“It’s new for Joe, it’s new for four or five players. Given time, we hope they can forge some sort of relationship.

“For Almiron, we’re working on getting him higher up the pitch and into a goal scoring position.”

Bruce said winger Christian Atsu was back in training from a hamstring injury and hoped Allan Saint-Maximin would also recover in time from a similar injury to play Spurs.

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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WSC4 unleashes Girl Power in Martial Arts combat championships

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A friendly contest between the Nigeria Army and Police is set to break out at the 4th Warrior Sports Championship (WSC) Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event on Sept. 1.

Spearheading this MMA contest are ladies who are primed to thrill spectators that will pack the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, according to a statement by the organisers, WSC.

The deceptively pretty faced, but hard punching Rachael Idam from the Nigerian Army knows any slip ups may cost her dearly when she squares up to Police woman, Juliet Chukwu.

Another ladies affair, which appears one sided on paper, presents itself when Police girl Pamilerin Akintayo and the civilian fighter Eniola Busari collide inside the cage.

Pamilerin is known for her south paw stance, combining it with some strong kicks and unrelenting striking power.

Similarly, Eniola’s heart and never say die spirit make her a dangerous opponent, any day, anytime.

More spellbinding matchups are expected from other male fighters in the Nigerian Armed Forces in what the promotion has dubbed WSC4 #Naijafightnight.

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