National Speed Marathon 2020: Organisers table over N11m for grabs



The organisers of the maiden National Speed Marathon (NSM) 2020 for skaters say there will be over N11 million cash prizes for the winners of the event scheduled for January.

The Director of Event, Adebowale Adetoroye, told the Nigeria News Agency on Thursday that there would be other consolation prizes aside the cash.

“For the prize money for the male category, the 1st prize is N3 million, 2nd prize winner will take N2 million and 3rd prize winner goes home with N1 million.

“In the female category, the 1st prize winner gets N2.5 million; 2nd prize winner grabs N1.5 million, while the 3rd prize winner will be rewarded with N1 million

“There will be consolation prizes for the first 50 runner-ups as well,’’ he said.

Adetoroye said that the NSM 2020 would attract skaters from across the country and Africa at large, adding that the competition had be fashioned in line with what is obtainable in Europe and America.

“The National Speed Marathon is a full skating marathon course, designed to showcase the skills, frills and thrills of the exciting sport.

“Being the maiden event in Nigeria, it is organised like similar skating marathons held in other parts of the world like Europe, America and Africa.

“Skating is a new and refreshing sport which is designed to promote and harness the already generated public interest for the promotion of corporate and business interest.

“ It was conceived as a national event with plans to be hosted annually across the 36 states of the federation, including Abuja,’’ he said.

Adetoroye said that the 42.5km speed race NSM to be held in Lagos would have male and female categories.

“The National Speed Marathon will hold in Lagos on Jan. 18, 2020. It is a 42.5 km speed race expected to parade 5,000 athletes across Nigeria which will include both male and female participants.

“This event shall feature participants from African countries and guests athletes from Europe.

“The idea to hold the first edition of NSM in Lagos as the city of choice is based on our strong conviction that the competition holds tremendous social, sports, tourism and economic potentialities for the state,’’ he said.

Adetoroye said that the route for the all-important event would be announced in November, adding that it would be an interesting race for skaters.

“The NSM route will be announced on Nov. 4. It covers 42.5 km, carefully planned to traverse some of the interesting landmark sites in the city.

“The route is deliberately chosen to showcase some of the beautiful sites in Lagos, a city said to be the 5th largest economy in Africa.

“We have partnered with Rotary International to raise awareness for prostate cancer through Rotary RAG (Rotarian Action Group for Prostate Cancer); and our theme is: `Skate Against Cancer’,’’ he said.

On the impact of the race on sports development in the country, Adetoroye said that it would provide immense opportunity for skaters to unleash their talents.

“We have to organise this tournament to showcase the fun and excitement of this sport; discover the talents, speed and agility of Nigerian skaters and promote the sport in order to harness its social and economic benefits.

“We also aim to place value on the sport; turn our skaters from local skaters to professional skaters and make them contribute to our society and economic development.

“This tournament will provide a platform for credible and sustainable partnership between the sport and brands.

“NSM is also envisaged as an event that will serve as a platform to train and expose talented skaters that could represent Nigeria in similar competitions across the world, especially the Olympics,’’ he said.

Adetoroye added that organising the NSM would upscale the growing interest for speed sport and harness the immense social and economic benefits of the sport.

“The event provides a platform to combine sport and play as a critical learning and development tool for youth engagement. It is a perfect event to brand Lagos and several cities in Nigeria, on the global skating map.

“We also want to provide an alternative platform for sports and tourism in the state. The NSM will give a lifetime opportunity to our youths to achieve their dream in skating.

“It is said that the amount of time our youths spend on sporting activities is less the time they spend in crime.

“If youths are constructively engaged, crime rates in our society will be reduced to the barest minimum. Registration Fee per Skater is N3,000,’’ he said.


(Editing by Peter Ejiofor)


Bayern Munich batter Werder Bremen as Borussia Dortmund dominate Mainz



Bayern Munich recovered from a goal down to demolish Werder Bremen 6-1 on Saturday, as they arrested a form slump which had seen them lose their last two league games.

They looked ragged for most of the first half and went behind when Werder Bremen’s Milot Rashica turned a sluggish-looking Jerome Boateng inside out before smashing home from outside the box.

But the Bundesliga champions struck through Philippe Coutinho and Robert Lewandowski on the stroke of half-time to go into the break in the lead and dominated the second-half.

Coutinho sealed a hat-trick and Lewandowski a brace, while Thomas Mueller also chipped in with a goal for them to move from seventh to fourth.

Borussia Dortmund, in third place, thumped Mainz 4-0, while Cologne beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-0.

Juergen Klinsmann clinched his first win as Hertha Berlin boss with a 1-0 defeat of Freiburg, while Paderborn and Union Berlin drew 1-1.

Second-placed RB Leipzig are away to struggling Fortuna Dusseldorf later on Saturday.

P W D L F A Pts

1 Bor. Moenchengladbach 14 10 1 3 30 16 31

2 Leipzig 14 9 3 2 39 16 30

3 Borussia Dortmund 15 8 5 2 37 19 29

4 Bayern Munich 15 8 3 4 41 21 27

5 Schalke 14 7 4 3 25 18 25

6 Freiburg 15 7 4 4 24 18 25

7 Bayer Leverkusen 15 7 4 4 22 20 25

8 Hoffenheim 15 6 3 6 21 27 21

9 Wolfsburg 14 5 5 4 15 14 20

10 Union Berlin 15 6 2 7 19 20 20

11 Augsburg 15 5 5 5 24 28 20

12 Eintracht Frankfurt 14 5 3 6 24 22 18

13 Hertha Berlin 15 4 3 8 21 29 15

14 Mainz 15 5 0 10 20 38 15

15 Werder Bremen 15 3 5 7 23 35 14

16 Dusseldorf 14 3 3 8 16 29 12

17 Cologne 15 3 2 10 14 30 11

18 Paderborn 15 2 3 10 18 33 9


(Edited by: Olawale Alabi)


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Golf: U.S. fight back to leave Presidents Cup in the balance



The U.S. clawed back into contention at the Presidents Cup on Saturday by dominating the afternoon foursomes, with the Internationals rallying to maintain their lead.

Late scrambling by the Internationals secured a 10-8 lead heading into the final day at Royal Melbourne.

There were angry scenes earlier when Patrick Reed’s caddie clashed with a spectator after the U.S. golfer was beaten in the morning fourballs with Webb Simpson.

It was their third successive defeat in the Cup.

But he had been heckled for three straight days for his waste bunker penalty in the Bahamas.

U.S. captain Tiger Woods asked the crowd to be “respectful” of his team, saying some fans had drunk too much alcohol and gone too far in their taunting.

“Have people said things that have been over the top? Yes. I’ve heard it,” he told reporters.

“I’ve been in the groups playing when it has happened, and I’ve been inside the ropes as a captain today witnessing it.”

Internationals captain Ernie Els, however, said the International team had suffered worse from the galleries at Liberty National in New Jersey two years ago.

“We shut up and we get on with things. That’s what we did in New York,” the South African said with a touch of defiance.

“This Aussie crowd, OK, they got a little bit boisterous this afternoon with a couple of beers, but which crowd doesn’t? You take it and you move on.”

Reed’s caddie Kessler Karain, also the golfer’s brother-in-law, will not return for the Sunday singles, the PGA Tour said.

It means someone else will carry the American’s bag when he faces Taiwanese debutant C.T. Pan in the third match on Sunday.

With 12 singles matches remaining on day four, the first team to reach 15.5 points will raise the trophy.

No team has ever won when trailing after the third day but the U.S. tied the 2003 tournament 17-17 after going into the final Sunday three points behind.

Woods sat out both the morning fourball and afternoon foursomes on Saturday.

But he will play against the impressive Mexican debutant Abraham Ancer on Sunday as he looks to seize early momentum for the Americans.

The Internationals stretched their lead to 9-5 after winning the early fourballs 2.5-1.5, before Woods’s team dug deep to claim the afternoon foursomes 3-1.

In doing this, they defied huge crowds which grew increasingly hostile as the day wore on.

Dustin Johnson and Gary Woodland led the way with a 2&1 victory over the Internationals’ most senior pairing of Louis Oosthuizen and Adam Scott in the first foursomes match.

Xander Schauffele and Patrick Cantlay then reduced the U.S. deficit to two points with another 2&1 win over Cameron Smith and Im Sung-jae.

The margin would have been shaved to a single point but for a dramatic collapse by Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler.

The pair blew a five-hole lead after the 10th against Marc Leishman and Ancer.

Under pressure after bogeys at 16 and 17, Thomas pulled his tee-shot on the last deep into trees.

Leishman then pounced with a fine approach that landed within seven feet of the pin to deny the Americans a full point.

“It’s unacceptable for us to get a half a point,” said a crestfallen Thomas, who had held a perfect record until that match.

“We had our chances, and I mean, flat honest, just didn’t execute. I’m just disappointed in myself for burning that for us on 18.”

International rookies Joaquin Niemann and An Byeong-hun fought back from two holes down in the tense final match to share a point with Matt Kuchar and Tony Finau.

Chilean Niemann produced a brilliant recovery from the rough on 18 to give An a birdie chance from within seven feet to claim a full point.

A massive greenside gallery groaned as An’s putt burned the rim of the cup.

Beaten in all three of his matches, Reed will again be under huge scrutiny on Sunday.

The Internationals’ Adam Hadwin, meanwhile, will play after suffering from stomach flu and missing Saturday’s sessions.

Els indicated he expects the event to go down to the wire, putting Adam Scott and his most senior players down for the late matches on Sunday.


(Edited by: Olawale Alabi)


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Salah scores twice as Liverpool sink struggling Watford



Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah kept up his scoring streak against Watford on Saturday at Anfield in a 2-0 win.

The Egyptian scored a brace as the English Premier League (EPL) leaders sealed victory over the bottom club.

The win restored Liverpool’s 11-point advantage over second-placed Leicester City, who host Norwich City later in the day.

It was however Watford’s fourth defeat in five games, and it left new manager Nigel Pearson’s side rooted to the bottom of the table.

Liverpool took the lead with a typically lethal counter-attack in the 38th minute as Sadio Mane collected the ball on the left and released Salah.

He sprinted towards goal before cutting in and curling a shot home with his right foot.

Mane thought he had doubled the lead five minutes after the break, but the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) showed he was marginally offside when nodding in from Xherdan Shaqiri’s whipped cross.

Salah then scored his eighth league goal against Watford in five matches with a brilliant back-heeled effort in added time to secure the three points for Juergen Klopp’s side.

The visitors had earlier missed the chance to go ahead when Abdoulaye Doucoure mishit his shot after Etienne Capoue escaped the offside trap to set him up.

Watford had scored only nine goals in the league coming into this game, and the reason for that became evident when poor finishing cost them yet again.

An unchallenged Ismaila Sarr scuffed his shot after goalkeeper Alisson Becker parried Gerard Deulofeu’s cross.

(Edited by: Olawale Alabi)


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Kenyan athletes win maiden ECOWAS-Abuja International Half-Marathon



John Mur and Careen Cheptoeck, both of Kenya, on Saturday in Abuja won the male and female categories respectively at the maiden ECOWAS-Abuja international half-marathon.

Mur finished with a time of one hour four minutes 2.79 seconds to place first in the men’s race, ahead of Ethiopia’s Mawcha Nega who finished about four seconds later.

The Ethiopian had a time of 1:04.06.94 to push into third place Nigeria’s Emmanuel Gyang who returned with a time of 1:04.32.15.

Seven other Nigerians trailed them to pick the fourth to 10th positions in the race which ended at the Old Parade Ground in Area 10.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the half-marathon which the organisers said had over 600 participants began from the ECOWAS Secretariat building in Abuja as early as 7 a.m.

The prize money for the winner was 10,000 dollars, with the first runners-up and second runners-up winning 5,000 dollars and 4,000 dollars respectively.

The fourth-place winner got a 3,500 dollars prize, while the fifth-place winner and others down to 10th place got cash prizes ranging from 3,000 dollars down to 1,000 dollars.

In the female category, Careen Cheptoeck of Kenya finished first with a time of 1:14.32.45 ahead of Deborah Pam of Nigeria who placed second with 1:17.15.86.

Olude Fadekemi of Nigeria also finished third with 1:19.11.23, while Ethiopia’s Lensa Daba placed fourth with 1:22.05.50.

Six other Nigerians grabbed the fifth to 10th positions in the race, while special athlete Ezekiel Elisa won the para-athletes race.

(Edited by: Olawale Alabi)


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Army advises Nigerians to be security  conscious



Maj.-Gen. Usman  Yakubu, Commander Corps of Artillery, Kontagora has  called on Nigerians to be more security conscious before, during and after the Christmas and New year festivities.

Speaking at the finals of Commander Corps of Artillery Annual Kontagora Youth Football Competition 2019 on Friday, Yakubu said it was only by so doing that the ongoing fight against banditry, kidnapping and other criminal activities would be dealt.

He said that this year’s tournament which started on Nov. 25, 2019 with 16 football clubs drawn from the barracks and Kontagora environs, was designed to foster better civil-military cooperation.

Represented by Maj. Gen. MB Msheilia, Commander Nigeria Army Training Centre, Yakubu said that the competition would enable youths showcase their football skills and bring out their rich talent.

He said that the contributions of the military formations and unit in Kontagora have increased the confidence of the people in the activities of the military in Niger State.

“I can categorically say that now the good people of Kontagora will interact more freely with the military and other security agencies as they feel better secured as they go about their daily activities and carry out their civic responsibilities in the state”, he said.

He said that the Corps would continue to use sports in promoting mutual understanding with their host communities.

Yakubu said the Nigerian Army is focused on crushing insurgents, bandits and other criminal elements, to make the country a safe place for all.

He called on residents to assist the Army with required intelligence information that would assist in the ongoing fight against criminal elements in the society.

NAN reports that, Eldeen Football Club Kontagora clinched the 2019 edition of the Commander Nigerian Army Corps of Artillery Youth Football Competition.

The finals, played at Barracks football field Kontagora and watched by hundreds of spectators, was decided via penalty kick after 90 minutes of regulation time.

At the end of the penalty shootout, Firestone FC scored 4 goals to beat Eldeen FC which scored 2 goals, to clinch the cup.

Saidu Nagari of Jikan Shehu FC won the prize for the most valuable player, Kazir Suleiman of Sahaj FC won the highest goal scorer award after netting 6 goals.

Also, Shehu Waziri Babalo of Eldeen FC emerged best goalkeeper while Coach Shuaibu Zabo of Jikan Shehu FC clinched the best coach award.

The champions, Firestone FC received a cash prize of N140,000, the runners up Eldeen FC got N120,000 while the third place, Jikan Shehu got N100,000.

Edited by: Saidu Adamu/Maharazu Ahmed



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