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GAC Motors Backs African Athletics Championships

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The dream of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the Asaba 2018 CAA African Senior Athletics Championships to organize a championship where the host city, Asaba, and Delta State Government will not have to bear hundred percent of the costs has started yielding fruits.

GAC Motors, one of China’s largest automakers, has backed the championships with a sponsorship deal worth N800 million.

In a statement signed by Olukayode Thomas, Head Media and Publicity of the LOC Asaba 2018 CAA African Senior Athletics Championships, the deal was brokered by Hon. Bukola Olopade, the Chief Executive Officer of Nilayo Sports Management Limited.

The company is the championships’ Official Consultant and Marketer. Hon. Olopade, who is also a member of the LOC, revealed that GAC Motors is the first sponsor to back the Asaba CAA African Senior Championships slated for next summer.

Said Olopade, “Once the management of GAC Motors realized that the main beneficiary of the championships will be youths from Nigeria and other parts of Africa, they quickly keyed into it and they are giving support worth N800m.

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“This is massive. They are the first organization to back the project. This is sign that we will be able to fulfil our promise that we will have championships whose cost will not be borne by the host city and Delta State Government alone but also by Corporate Nigeria’’

Olopade urged other members of Corporate Nigeria to emulate GAC Motors and back the Asaba 2018 Championships.

He also urged Nigerians, especially the working class, to patronize GAC Motors, a youth-friendly company so that they can do more for Nigerian youths, “I urge Nigerians to patronize their cars which are pocket-friendly, fuel efficient and beautiful.

“Our patronage will enable them to do more for Nigerians not only in athletics but also in football and the entertainment industry which they have invested heavily in and others’’.

Olopade said there are opportunities for other brands who intend to be part of the championships

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“The 2018 edition of CAA African Athletics Championships also serve as trials for the highly competitive and lucrative 2018 IAAF World Cup in Athletics, so the cream de la cream of African athletes and global leaders of the sport including the IAAF President Seb Coe and others athletics great will be in Asaba, this guarantees huge exposure for top brands. There are also many lead up activities and post championships activities that guarantee continuous mileage and exposure”.

 

 

 

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Gara Gombe sets up committee for Gombe Inter Schools Athletics Championship

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Former chairman of Gombe State Football Association, Ahmed Shuaibu Gara-Gombe has inaugurated the Main Organising Committee for the Gombe State Inter Secondary Schools Athletics Championship.

Last year at the primary schools edition, over a thousand pupils featured in what was the maiden edition sponsored by Ahmed Shuaibu-Gara Gombe who is also the chairman of the Gombe State Athletics Association. It was held at the Pantami Stadium.

The maiden competition had boys and girls from 47 schools in attendance. On Friday, in fulfilment of a pledge to raise the bar, the organising committee was set up  at the Gombe State University as part of private investment in sports development.

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Former 800m world champion Pierre-Ambroise Bosse banned for 16 months

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France’s former 800m world champion Pierre-Ambroise Bosse has received a 16-month ban from the French Anti-Doping Agency after missing three drug tests in the space of nine months. Bosse announced he was quitting athletics late last year due to recurrent injuries.

The sanction comes after the 31-year-old missed three drug tests between September 2022 and June 2023. Bosse had announced his retirement in December, seven months before the Paris 2024 Olympics. He had received notifications of breaches three times, with the period coinciding with his efforts to return to a high-level athletic performance despite grappling with a hamstring injury.

The initial breach occurred on 25 September 2022, when an anti-doping controller arrived at his residence to conduct a test within the athlete’s scheduled time slot, but Bosse was not available. He told French news outlet L’Équipe: “I was one foot in training, one foot on holiday.”

Bosse, who was eliminated at semi-final stage of the Tokyo Olympics, was enduring a thigh problem at the time. Following surgery in December 2022, Bosse embarked on a race against time with the aspiration of competing in his fourth Olympic Games in Paris.

On 1 May 2023, authorities tried to contact him again, but were unable to reach him during a time when he was with family in Nantes. “I wasn’t worried at that time because I had forgotten the previous one and so I thought I only had one. At that moment, I gave up completely.”

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Then a month later, a controller returned to his residence for another scheduled check, but the athlete was evidently absent. He was subsequently informed a few weeks later of a likely two-year suspension for failing to fulfill such obligations. 

Despite feeling dejected and shocked, Bosse attempted to defend himself by attributing the second violation to an issue with the absence of a doorbell.

“I made three mistakes, I accept. It’s true that I haven’t always been the best student when it comes to taking care of my location but, until then, it had never played any tricks on me. I know I should have been more serious but I would like to point out that I have been in the AFLD target group since 2012 and they have all my analyses.”

The 31-year-old was unable to recuperate following surgery on his right thigh last year and had been out of competition since April 2023.

Before his injury troubles he most notably secured fourth place in the 800m at the Rio Games back in 2016, and has yet to recapture the form that led to his crowning as the world champion over 800m in London in 2017. Bosse also got his hands on bronze at the European Championships in both 2012 and 2018.

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Since leaving his beloved sport behind, the Frenchman has starred in two reality TV shows in his homeland and focussed on his association combining sport and ecology which he launched with his friend and former international team-mate Bryan Cantero.

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Nigerian-born Ujah recalled to Britain’s relay squad after serving doping ban

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Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Athletics - Men's 4 x 100m Relay - Medal Ceremony - Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - August 7, 2021. Silver medallists Chijindu Ujah of Britain, Zharnel Hughes of Britain, Richard Kilty of Britain and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake of Britain pose on the podium REUTERS/Andrew Boyers/File Photo

Chijindu Ujah has been recalled to Britain’s 4x100m squad for the World Athletics Relays in May, 10 months after serving his ban for a doping violation which resulted in his team being stripped of their silver medals at the Tokyo Olympics.

Sprinter Ujah was banned by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) for 22 months in October 2022, which was backdated from August 2021 to June 2023. However, the AIU had cleared Ujah of intentionally taking prohibited substances.

Britain were stripped of the Tokyo silver after the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld Ujah’s anti-doping rule violation, though former UK Athletics technical director Stephen Maguire had said he would be considered for selection again after his ban.

Ujah’s team mates Richard Kilty, Zharnel Hughes and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake also had their medals stripped, with Kilty saying they were left “devastated” since they had strictly followed the rules unlike Ujah.

All four sprinters were named in an eight-man 4x100m relay squad for the World Athletics Relays in the Bahamas on May 4-5, giving Ujah another shot to redeem himself before the Olympic Games in Paris from July 26-Aug. 11.

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“They have had their fair share of challenges in recent years,” said Darren Campbell, British Athletics’ head of sprints, hurdles and relays.

“But I have had my own discussions with each and every member of the squad and know they are motivated, committed and focused on working together to reach Paris.”

-Reuters

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