Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has penciled down the football star, Victor Ikpeba, to head the proposed summer camp for the 30 talented students of secondary schools that were discovered at the revamped Principals’ Cup Competition in the state.
The competition, which was in its second year, has become a rallying point and a successful Public-Private Partnership (PPP) feat between the state government and the Zenith Bank Plc.
He said arrangement had also reached advanced stage to reintroduce the Annnual School Sports Festival in the state for identification and nurturing of talents in different sports.
The Governor, represented by his Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Mr Chiedu Ebie, supported by his counterpart in Information, Mr Patick Ukah, at the yearly ministerial briefing in Asaba yesterday expressed his passion to harness the discovered talents.
While Ebie maintained that with Ikpeba as the head of the coaching crew, the talented students would fly higher soon, he commended Ukah for donating 2,500 hockey sticks to selected schools to reposition sports in the state.
He said, “as part of the efforts at getting our children engaged in tennis at a young age, a one-week tennis workshop was held last year in conjunction with the Duke Odizor Foundation, and in 2016, we successfully hosted the finals of the National Milo Basketball Competition for Secondary School with Osadenis High School, Asaba, emerging the overall winners of the male category.”
C’Wealth Games: Team Nigeria’s major winners and losers
At the just ended XXI edition of the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, Team Nigeria won 24 medals (nine gold, nine silver and six bronze). The country took part in 10 disciplines and won medals in seven. There are divergent reactions to the performance of Nigeria’s contingent as Sunday Telegraph’s CHARLES OGUNIDYA x-rays some of the gainers and losers of the games.
The amazing winners
The biggest winners of the Commonwealth Games were the powerlifters who despite little motivation and resources at their disposal, they have been consistent in making the country proud at major competitions.
It was a clean sweep for the country’s athletes at the games after winning all the categories – men and women’s lightweight and heavyweight.
Roland Ezuruike and Paul Kehinde, who both competed in the lightweight category, won gold and silver respectively while it was Esther Oyema and Lucy Ejike who achieved same in the women’s event.
Abdulazeez Ibrahim came tops in the men’s heavyweight likewise Ndidi Nwosu in the women’s heavyweight making it a complete medal haul, something the able bodied failed to achieve in Gold Coast, Australia.
Oluwatobiloba Amusan (100m hurdles/4x100m relay)
Before the competition, Sunday Telegraph listed some of the athletes expected to win medals at the XXI Commonwealth Games and sprint hurdler, Tobiloba Amusan, was mentioned among the few that had done enough to win medal at Gold Coast 2018.
She, however, not only ended the games with a medal, she made history as the first Nigerian, man or woman, to win a sprint hurdles title at the Games.
Amusan overcame the two major hurdles before her in Danielle Williams, the 2015 IAAF World Champions who, however, finished with the silver medal and Yanique Thompson, former Olympic Games gold medallist, who clinched bronze.
The 20-year-old, who is the reigning American Collegiate 100m hurdles queen, became Nigeria’s first gold medallist in track and field at the Games; Nigeria’s first ever in the event and become the third Nigerian woman to make it to the podium after Modupe Oshikoya (bronze) did in 1974 and Angela Atiede (bronze) in 2002 in Manchester.
Speaking after the race, the University of Texas El-Paso youngster described her feat as average as she was actually looking forward to creating a new Games Record.
She has continued to improve over the years after winning her first title for Nigeria in 2015 when she won the African Youth title in Ethiopia. She also emerged winner at the All African Games in Congo Brazzaville same year.
She not only won the 100m hurdles gold in Australia, she was also part of the 4x100m relay team that won a bronze medal, making it two medals for her in her first Commonwealth Games for Nigeria.
She is definitely one of the athletes for the future.
Chukwuebuka Enekwechi (shot put)
He actually won the country’s first individual medal at the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast when he threw 21.14m, his Personal Best, in the shot put to win a silver medal.
The American-born track and field athlete, who specializes in the throwing events, participated at the 2017 World Championships, not making it out of the qualifying rounds.
Among those expected to win medal, Enekwechi was not anywhere part of it but he surprised all by getting to the podium.
New Zealander, Tomas Walsh, won the gold with a Games record of 21.41m while Canadian Tim Nedow settled for bronze with 20.91m.
Despite winning eight medals in Gold Coast compared to the 12 won four years ago in Glasgow Games, this year’s games was a good one for the wrestlers as they won more gold than every other sports competed for by the able bodies.
The wrestlers returned with three gold medals compared to two gold four years ago and particularly, a best for Blessing Oborududu who finally won gold at the games.
Gold Coast was her third appearance at the Commonwealth Games but she was able to achieve her target in the women’s 68kg final.
Delhi 2010 was her first outing and she won silver in women’s 63kg but dropped to the bronze medal in the same category in 2014.
Odunayo Adekuoroye and Aminat Adeniyi retained their gold medals with Melvin Bibo moving from bronze medal won in Glasgow 2014 Games to a silver medal in Australia.
Apart from the above, Ebikewemino Welson won the bronze medal in the men’s 57kg while Blessing Onyebuchi and Bose Samuel won silver and bronze respectively.
Aruna Quadri (Table Tennis)
Aruna Quadri was a happy man despite missing out in the gold medal battle of the men’s singles against Singapore’s Gao Ning.
Having come from 2-0 down against the Singaporean, Quadri succumbed to the experience of the two–time silver medallist with a 4-2 loss to settle for silver medal, his best outing at the games.
At the 2014 edition in Glasgow, Scotland, it was Ning that edged out Quadri in the round of 16 but this year in Australia, the Nigerian seeded number one gave a good account of himself on his way to the final.
“Not the result that I wanted but I am still very satisfied with my performance and silver is better than bronze. I want to say thanks to the best club in the world – Sporting Clube de Portugal for giving me the opportunity to represent my country here in Australia,” he said afterwards.
Quadri failed to compete in the team’s event after joining his compatriots late due to ill health but was present in the last two matches to offer moral support to the Segun Toriola-led team.
The Commonwealth Games also celebrated Suwaibidu Galadima who won a gold medal for Nigeria in the Men’s T47 100m Para Athletics at the Games while mention must be made of Yinka Ajayi who went all the way to the final of the women 400m likewise all the members of the women 4x100m relay team as two of the quartet are junior athletes who were appearing at their first international competition for the country.
Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor (4x100m)
Four years ago in Glasgow, it was Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor’s show, winning the gold in the 100m and 200m women while also creating a Games Record in the former after finishing the race in 10.85secs. She also helped Nigeria win silver in the 4x100m relay with a time of 42.92 secs.
Fast-forwarding to 2018, the queen of the track decided to pull out of the two events, which if put into consideration the final time of the winners, she would have defended her titles without much problem.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Michelle-Lee Ahye won the 100m in 11.14secs, while Shaunae Miller-Uibo from Bahamas won the 200m in 22.09secs, a Games Record, a far cry from the times Okagbare has recorded this year.
She ran an impressive 22.04 secs in 200m at the Wes Kittley Invitational Track & Field Meet at Abilene Christian University this year to create a new African record, sending to history Mary Onyali’s time of 22.07secs which stood for 22 years.
In her first and only 100m race in 2018, she posted a wind assisted 10.72secs run to win the women 100m race at the Texas Relay.
However, she was only able to win a bronze in the 4x100m, making it only one medal for her just four years after recording three medals; two gold and one silver medal.
Without any doubt, Okagbare is one of the biggest losers of the XXI edition of the Commonwealth Games.
Patience Okon-George (400m)
What a moment for Patience Okon-George to write her name in history book as she ran to the finish line in the Women 400m heat, thereby qualifying for the semi-final. But her joy was short-lived as she was disqualified after stepping out of her lane at the curve.
After training so hard with the intention of winning a gold medal in her race or at most climbing the podium, it was not meant to be due a technical mistake. She, however, made amends in the 4×400 alongside Yinka Ajayi, Onome Nathaniel and Praise Idamadudu, defending the silver won four years ago in Glasgow, Scotland. Interestingly, she was the only member of the team that won the silver in 2014 that took part in Gold Coast.
Okon-George has been one of the most consistent quarter milers for the country in recent time and all eyes were on her to at least get to the final where anything could have happened. She was, however, disqualified alongside another Nigerian, Folashade Abugan.
Speaking on how she was able to pick herself up and lead the team to the silver medal in the 4x400m, Okon-George said: “I had to pick myself up because of my other colleagues who we were running the relay together. In the relay you have to run as a team, put your mind-set together, so that you can get to the podium, which was exactly what I did.
“I didn’t want to discourage my other teammates, I wanted them to be happy even when I was not happy, I had to pull myself together and run the race of my life.
“I never knew I stepped on the line, running at that curve, all I wanted to do was to continue building my speed and get to the finishing line.”
Speaking further, the national champion said the silver in relay was not enough to make up for her loss in the individual event because she was in her best form going for the games.
Gold Coast remained the worst outing for the country’s weightlifters; failing to win just a single medal in four different categories competed for.
Nigeria presented athletes in men’s 62kg and 85kg same as the women’s 48kg and 53kg with none of them getting to the podium.
Favour Agboro, Michael Anyalewechi, Monica Uweh and Fatimah Yakubu all represented the country with nothing to show for it.
It was harvest of medals in this sport in 2014 as Nigeria returned from Scotland with seven medals, two gold, four silver and one bronze medal. None of the lifters in Glasgow made the trip to Gold Coast.
Ighalo hits four goals in Chinese Super League
Super Eagles striker Odion Ighalo, yesterday scored four goals for Changchun Yatai in their 5-2 win over Guizhou Hengfeng in a CSL encounter at Guiyang Olympics Sports Center.
The feat, which earned the Nigerian forward the man-of- the- match award, was a relief for the former Watford striker, who has failed to find the back of the net for both club and country across five games prior to the match. In fact he had only managed a goal since the turn of the year in all competitive outings.
He opened score via penalty kick in the 24th minute after drawing a foul from Fan Yunlong in the opposition’s area while he was also on hand to round off the seven-goal thriller in the third minute of added time.
The forward added further strikes in the 38th and 86th minutes to add to Tan Long’s effort while Du Wei and Wang Fang’s goals was not more than a consolation for the hosts.
The result means the Yatai-based club move into 10th on the CSL league log with their second win of the season in eight points while their opponents are placed 15th on three points and are stocked in the relegation zone.
With this feat, Ighalo will again be the central focus when Yatai return to action on Tuesday to confront Sichuan.
ICC World T20 Qualifier: Ghana pips Nigeria to title
Ghana Cricket National Team confirmed her supremacy over Nigeria by winning with four wickets to complete a double as well as win the International Cricket Council World T20 Africa ‘A’ Qualifier.
Captain Isaac Aboagye won the toss and once again elected to field like the first game they won which was a decision that eventually paid off after reducing Nigeria to 73 runs all out in 19.3 overs courtesy of superb bowling from Koffi Bagabena 4 wickets, 22 runs in 3.3 overs, Micheal Aboagye 2 wickets, 4 runs, 4 overs and 2 maiden overs.
The task looked daunting for Captain Chimezie Onwuzulike in the second innings as they achieved the feat with 32 balls to spare.
Samson Kwasi top scored with 26 runs out, Wicket Keeper and Man of the Match Julius Mensah dropped 20 runs while Peter Ananya added 11 runs to hand Ghana victory over Nigeria who finished 2nd but still qualified. Both Sierra Leone and The Gambia failed to make it past the qualifiers.
After the completion of the ICC World T20 Qualifier attention now shifts to African Cricket Association Competition that has 5 teams (Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, Sierra-Leone and Cameroon starting on Monday, April 23, 2018.
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