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ENCOMIUMS ON WIKE FOR NATIONAL SWIMMING CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE

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Notable sports related personalities have poured encomiums on Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State for his various sports initiatives, the latest being his accepting to have the national Swimming Centre of Excellence in Port Harcourt.

He is also playing hosts to the African Wrestling Championship which will run for a week starting from this weekend.

Among those commending the governor is Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, the proprietor of the defunct Iwuanyanwu Nationale which has since transformed to Heartland FC of Owerri.

Also commending the governor is the African queen of the track, Mary Onyali According to Chief Iwuanyanwu who incidentally is the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Nigeria Sports Development Fund Inc (NSDFI), “that is a decision that takes that state into the future if only you can see what I am seeing. That is one project that will give many people, children especially from poor homes, those who live around the three swimming pools already have a career.”

“Honestly, that is one governor whose conducts I have variously admired and appreciated. For this one he has done for the children and youths of Rivers State, I will have to visit the state myself especially when the first generation of the athletes will be training. Governor Wike, may God bless you and make your heart desires thrive. This is like a personal gift to me,” said the proprietor of Champion Newspaper.

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“When I read of the development, the kind of celebration I had most likely was more than any one I had when I win medals for the country. I jumped for joy until I lost my voice. I was overjoyed. Governor Wike has given me my best gift in 2018,” said the first Nigerian to do five Olympics in a straight row.

Chief Onyali is the Executive Director (Technical) for the Basic Olive Opportunity Sports Training (BOOST) which is housing the National Swimming Centre of Excellence.

“I am so tripped with the timing. With this, I can tell you that our medal prospects for the 2024 Olympics will come from here. Governor Wike’s name will be boldly written in the lives of the children who will be in this project.”

President of the Aquatics Federation, Fatayi Babatunde-Williams said on telephone, “we as a federation are so appreciative of Governor Nyesom Wike for this wonderful initiative. This may be the biggest support that Swimming will be having. I am so happy for the children of the state.”

 

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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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Other Sports

Stolen Ferrari Recovered Almost 30 Years Later –

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Stolen Ferrari Recovered Almost 30 Years Later -

A Ferrari Testarossa sports car stolen from Austrian Formula One driver Gerhard Berger during the 1995 San Marino Grand Prix weekend has been recovered by London police almost 29 years later.

The Metropolitan Police said on Monday the red F512M, worth some 350,000 pounds ($444,325.00), was tracked down in four days after Ferrari reported it was the one being sold through a British broker to a U.S. buyer.

Police enquiries found it was shipped to Japan shortly after being stolen from the Italian city of Imola and then arrived in Britain in late 2023.

The Organised Vehicle Crime Unit said enquiries were ongoing and no arrests had been made.

A second silver Ferrari F355 that belonged to Berger’s French former team mate Jean Alesi, which was stolen on the same weekend in the Italian city, remains missing.

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Alesi finished second in the race won by Williams’ Damon Hill with Berger third, in the Ferrari drivers’ final season at the Italian team before the arrival of Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine.

Berger had caught the thief in the act of stealing his car but after jumping clear and then giving chase in a friend’s Volkswagen Golf, according to a news report at the time, was unable to prevent it from getting away.

-Reuters

 

 

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Olympics

DALUNG CONGRATULATES NEW NIGERIA OLYMPIC COMMITTEE BOARD

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Nigeria’s Minster of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung has congratulated the newly elected board of the Nigeria Olympic Committee NOC after a successful elective congress.

In a congratulatory message, Dalung hailed the delegates for conducting peaceful and credible elections and choosing leaders with passion for sports.

He charged the NOC to look at areas that have been abandoned like training of coaches and referees in other to return Nigeria’s sports sector to its rightful position.

“I congratulate you on the successful conduct of elections into the NOC board. The next step is to look at the development of manpower and technical hands. We need to train more coaches and update them with modern techniques of coaching. 

“The NOC must develop a partnership and also source for funds to ensure that we increase the number of coaches we have in Nigeria and ensure that they compete favorably with their counterparts in other countries.

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“They should also ensure the training of referees, umpires and judges because of their role in global sports. Most times Nigerian referees and umpires are left out of the scheme of officiating at international competitions and that affects our result and performance outside the shores of Nigeria.”

The Minister had earlier in an opening remark at the NOC Annual General Meeting held at the Government House, Yola, urged state governments to contribute more to sports development by giving a percentage of their security vote to sports.

Dalung also used the occasion to thank Presidents of National Sports Federations and state Directors of Sports for their active role in ensuring a successful National Sports Festival in Abuja.

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CNN MEETS THE AFRICAN ATHLETES COMPETING IN CONTACT SPORTS

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On this week’s episode of AfricanVoices, CNN International explores the growing interest in contact sports in Africa by meeting athletes from Nigeria, South Africa and Senegal.

Growing up in Aiochi, Nigeria, UFC Fighter Kamaru Usman remembers how the struggles he faced as a child helped prepare him for the hard work it takes to be a champion.

He tells CNN: “I remember the streets, I remember having to walk what seemed like miles to fetch water from the wells with my grandmother. I recall the hard work that my family went through just to continue to live the lifestyle that we were living, which wasn’t by any means a great lifestyle.”

For Usman, a spiritual belief has helped him maintain his conviction, he explains: “I believe in fate. I believe in karma. For me, it’s whatever God has in store for me. If God said that this was how you get that title shot, I don’t want to be the guy to say, “Oh, well, I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t prepared.” I wanted to make sure that I was prepared because I don’t know God’s plan. Maybe God wanted me to get it a certain other way, but I’m gonna do everything in my power to make sure thatI’m a champion.”

African Voices meets Usman in Dallas, Texas as he trains to become a champion. He tells CNN about the work he does to remain competitive: “I had to diet, I had to go through the whole training camp. I had to put my body through that stress and just the rigorous training that you go through. I went through all of it and then I had to step on the scale and make the weight.”

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Usman not only trains to be successful but also helps encourage other athletes in Africa. He explains: “When it’s training time, we push each other and do anything to help each other and when it’s fight time we’re always there for each other. If I see you doing something that’s wrong or I see something that can help you change your game I’m going to always give those tips especially with another of my African brothers. We eat the same food, we come from the same walks of life, so it’s a different bond.”

On his future in the sport, Usman tells CNN about his aspirations: “In a couple years from now in this sport, I will be the champion.

“I would have defended the belt a few times. Secured or solidified my place in the hall of fame as one of the greatest to ever do this, and all the while inspiring not just Africans, but inspiring kids across the world that have a similar story to myself.”

Another athlete African Voices also meets is Women’s Flyweight and Bantamweight champion Amanda “Mad Dog” Lino from South Africa. She explains to CNN what encouraged her to be the champion she is today: “Something that really changed my life would have to be losing my f ather.

“You know that really brought focus and dedication into my life because going through a struggle and losing someone that you love would make you focus on what you need to on a day to day basis. I think that it’s most shaped me and made me realize that life wasn’t all about having fun and not focusing.”

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Lino explains how criticism she faced encouraged her to work harder: “Everyone kept telling me girls are never going to be successful in MMA, it’s a man’s sport or it’s a boy’s sport… So being the competitive person or the one to push boundaries, I was like well no, I’m going to make sure that female athletes get into MMA and make a difference.”

The final athlete African Voices meets is Olympic Taekwondo athlete Balla Dieye from Senegal. He tells CNN about the challenges he has faced in the sport: “Before, when you start Taekwondo in Senegal it was very difficult because it’s not our culture. When you show some people, I make Taekwondo, they say, “What’s Taekwondo?” [they] thinks its karate. Because [they] see movies from Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee. But now,it’s different now. We know this is karate, this is Taekwondo.”

Dieya tells the programme about his experience at one of the biggest sporting competitions in the world: “When I goto Olympics, I [was] training for six hours a day. And four hours for me is physical preparation and two hours is only from sparring…. We do all exercise here.  If you have your body very strong then you’re going to fight easy.You need flexibility, you need speed, and you need those strong, power for scoring.”

On his future hopes Dieye tells CNN: “I need Olympic medals now, this is dream for my taekwondo. In Senegal everybody waiting this medal. All sport. Everybody waiting the next medal for taekwondo, the next medal in Senegal. Why I [am] pushing a lot this new generation, I give my motivation, I give my time, I give my energy to make focus for this medal… I think the dream is coming soon.”

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