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Semenya to contest 3,000-metres at Prefontaine Classic

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Semenya, who has won two Olympic golds over 800m, has been adamant that she will not take medication to lower her testosterone levels to comply with new International Associations of Athletics (IAAF) rules.

The race will be her first since the new rules went into effect.

Barring an appeal, Semenya can no longer compete in her specialist event after she lost her appeal against the new rules, with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) stating that the regulations were necessary to ensure fair competition.

Semenya will form part of a formidable field at the Prefontaine Classic that includes world 5,000-metres champion Hellen Obiri, 2016 world indoor 1,500-metres champion Sifan Hassan, and 2018 world indoor 1,500 and 3,000-metres champion Genzebe Dibaba.

“It was a request from Caster Semenya’s agent asking if she could run a 3,000,” meet director Tom Jordan told Reuters. “Of course we said yes.”

The event is sponsored by Nike, who have Semenya in their stable of athletes.

Semenya became South African national champion in the 5,000m in April, but is some way off the leading runners in the world over that distance.

The flat 3,000 metres is not contested at the Olympic Games, but a steeplechase over the distance is on the list of events.

Semenya has a personal best of 9:36.29 in the flat 3,000 metres, the slowest of the runners in the Prefontaine Classic, with Dibaba (8:16.60) the quickest.

The South African’s last race over 800 metres was in the Diamond League in Doha on May 3, when she cruised to victory in 1:54.98, nearly three seconds ahead of Burundi’s Francine Niyonsaba.

“I’m a crazy athlete, I switch events like hell but, yeah, 800 metres is my calling, I believe in it, and that’s what I want to do,” she said after winning in Doha.

“I will switch races when I want to — no man can tell me what to do. I’m here for a purpose, if I want to switch events I switch them, but if someone wants me to switch them, that’s their own problem, not mine.

“I’m a power athlete, I can run from 100m  to 5 km, so I can run any race I want.”

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Manchester City’s appeal to CAS over FFP rejected

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Manchester City have lost their attempt to block a UEFA investigation into financial fair play violations.

City had asked the Court of Arbitration for Sport [CAS] to throw out the financial fair play case that had been brought against the club by UEFA.(Skysports/NAN)

(Edited by Emmanuel Okara/Peter Ejiofor)

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African champions Algeria begin title defence with rout of Zambia

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Algeria thrashed Zambia 5-0 on Thursday in a successful start to the defence of their continental crown, winning their opening qualifier for the 2021 African Cup of Nations 117 days after lifting the trophy.

Baghdad Bounedjah scored twice, one from the penalty spot, with Ramy Bensebaini, Youssef Belaili and substitute El Arabi Hilal Soudani completing a pleasing performance for the home fans in Blida.

Thomas Partey’s long-range shot gave Ghana the lead and 19-year-old debutant Mohammed Kudus added the second in a 2-0 home win over South Africa in Cape Coast, but Egypt, who hosted the finals this year, were held 1-1 at home by Kenya.

Mohamed Salah’s absence due to an ankle injury left Egypt looking ineffective in attack although they did take the lead when Mahmoud Kahraba picked up on a weak back pass.

Michael Olunga stunned the home crowd in Alexandria with a 67th-minute equaliser for Kenya.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang captained Gabon as they forced a goalless draw away to Democratic Republic of Congo in Kinshasa, while Mali twice surrendered the lead as they were held 2-2 by Guinea, for who Naby Keita scored their first goal.

The Comoros Islands, who only became FIFA members in 2005, notched their first away win in a competitive international as Faiz Selemani scored early in the second half to beat Togo 1-0 in Lome.

The small Indian Ocean island nation host Egypt on Monday, looking to keep up their giant-killing start in Group G.

Mozambique beat Rwanda 2-0 at home in Thursday’s other qualifier.

Qualifiers continue through to Tuesday, by which time each of the 48 participating countries will have played two matches each.

(Edited by Emmanuel Okara/Peter Ejiofor)

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Turkey qualify for Euro 2020 with draw against Iceland, France also secure spot

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Turkey qualified for the Euro 2020 finals with a goalless draw in a Group H against Iceland on Thursday, with the result also ensuring France a place in the championships.

They join Belgium, Italy, Poland, Russia, Spain and Ukraine as the teams who have already qualified for the tournament that will be staged across 12 European countries from 12 June to 12 July 2020.

Turkey lead Group H with 20 points although France can overtake them at the top if they beat Moldova later on Thursday.

Third-placed Iceland are out of the running as they have 16 points with one qualifier remaining.

Both teams struggled to make an impact with Turkey striker Burak Yilmaz failing to find a way past Iceland keeper Hannes Halldorsson.

The hosts pressed harder in the second half but Iceland’s defence kept them from scoring.

Midfielder Ozan Tufan came close to scoring in the 63rd minute but his effort brushed past the crossbar.

Iceland also missed a chance to score in the closing stages when Hordur Magnusson’s header was blocked by Turkey defender Merih Demiral on the line.

Before kickoff, Turkish fans whistled as Iceland’s national anthem was played.

Edited by Felix Ajide

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NPFL: Rangers pips Sunshine Stars 1-0 in Enugu

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Rangers International FC of Enugu on Thursday, beat visiting Sunshine Stars FC of Akure 1-0 in a rescheduled Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) match played in Enugu.

Nnamdi Egbujuo’s 54th minute goal gave victory to the home team.

Though the first 45 the minutes ended goalless as the visitors had the upper hand but could not break the deadlock in spite several attempts.

Speaking after the match, Rangers coach, Benedict Ugwu expressed joy over the outcome of match and said that the two teams played well.

” I Thank God we won and the most important thing is the three points and not the score line,” he said.

Ugwu said that he fielded new players for them to have a test of the league.

” You know we started the league late so that is why I am fielding the new players now to identify those who can play at the continental championship.

” With time we will get the new players glued together and the goals will start coming,” he said.

Sunshine Coach, Kabiru Dogo admitted losing to a better side.

He said that the players did well in spite of playing two matches in the league with the same players.

” You know we are working with only 17 players and we are trying to rotate them so that they will not brake down before time.

” It is a good match with good officiating and the better team won so we are going home to work more on our game.

Edited by Joseph Edeh/Ali Baba-Inuwa

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IOC President tasks FG on grassroots development, infrastructure

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President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Dr Thomas Bach, has urged the Federal Government (FG) to strengthen grassroots sports development and infrastructure in order to produce more Olympic champions.

Bach gave the advice on Thursday in Abuja during an interactive session with Nigerian Olympians as part of his two-day working visit to Nigeria.

He said the visit was part of efforts to support the country’s Olympic preparations and further boost the ideals of the Olympics.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the IOC boss, thereafter, toured the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, and visited an NOC partner-school as part of his working visit.

Bach rounded off his engagement for the visit with the inauguration of the National Olympic Committee of Africa (ANOCA) headquarters building in Abuja.

He said the inauguration of the building would automatically transform Nigeria to the capital of Olympic sports in Africa.

Earlier, Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, described the event as a great landmark in the development of sports in Africa.

“It is a day that the entire black race should be proud of. And as Nigerians, we are proud to be a major contributor to the actualisation of this day.

“Aside the obvious fact of the commissioning of the building that would, from today, be the administrative and technical hub of sports administration on the continent, we also have in our midst, the leaders of the world governing body for sports, ably led by the president of the International Olympic Committee, Dr Thomas Bach,” he said.

He recalled that the journey to the commissioning started about 13 years ago when Nigeria, alongside six other African countries, bided to host the headquarters of ANOCA.

“With the selection and signing of the Headquarters Cooperation Agreement on Feb. 21, 2007, the ANOCA Secretariat, hitherto in Yaoundé, Cameroon, was moved to Abuja, Nigeria,” he added.

The minister also revealed that “After 10 years of trying to get approval for the domestication of the anti-doping bill, the Federal Executive Council on Wednesday approved the domestication of the convention.

NAN reports that Bach, a German lawyer and former Olympic fencer, is the ninth and current president of the IOC.

He had arrived Abuja on Wednesday on a two-day working visit as part of tour of selected African countries ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics.

Edited by Moses Solanke/Sadiya Hamza

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Squash: Junior players improving with each edition, says coach

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Seun Peters, Secretary, Squash Coaches Association, says junior players at the ongoing U-13 and U-16 categories of the Ex-Squash Pros Diaspora tournament has shown tremendously development since the inception of the games.

Peters said this in an interview with Nigeria News Agency on Thursday at the Teslim Balogun Stadium,Lagos.

The third edition of the competition serves-off from Thursday, Nov. 14 to Saturday Nov.16.

NAN reports that the Ex-Squash Pros Diaspora, was established by former professional players who came together to give back to the sport that has given them so much.

“The spectators will agree with me that there has being tremendously improvement, if you look at the categories when we started two years ago, there was a difference.

“Right now they know what it takes to be a professional, they have grown a lot and it’s commendable; in the next five years, it will be explosive because these upcoming have so much to give.

“ In the nearest future we will witness a big turnaround in the squash, we are sowing seeds that will yield fruits in the future,” he said.

Asked if the junior players are well acquainted with rules of the game, the former player said the players were catching up fast with the rules and regulations of the game.

“ They are learning fast, it will amaze you what they know, when you see them on the court they play like pros, because they know where their feet should be, they know how to drop their balls.

“I believe with regular competitions, they will keep improving, and I  believe that before they get to 19 years of age, their game will be top notch,” he said.

NAN reports that in the U-13 category for boys Ibrahim Abdulazeez defeated David Olaniyi 3-1, Dominon Utukpe defeated John Ukan 3-0.

/WOJ

Edited by Joseph Edeh/Wale Ojetimi

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