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D’TIGRESS CAPTAIN, EVELYN AKHATOR THRILLED WITH NIGERIA SPORTS AWARD HONOURS

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D’Tigress captain, Evelyn Akhator has described her double awards at this year’s Nigerian Sports Awards as amazing.

The professional basketball athlete, who plays for the Turkish side Besiktas, stole the show by winning both the Basketball Player of the Year and Sportswoman of the Year categories at the 2018 Nigerian Sports Award held at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island in Lagos on Friday.

The 2017 Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) third overall pick by Dallas Wings warded off opposition from Odunayo Adekuoroye and Simidele Adeagbo to win the Sportswoman of the Year category. She also beat male basketball player, Ike Diogu and fellow teammate, Adora Elonu to clinch the Basketball Player of the Year award.

The Lagos-born basketball star was elated for winning the awards, describing her mum as a role model and thanked all her supporters who voted for her.

“Picking up the Basketball player of the year and Sportswoman of the year 2018 @ngrsportsaward was truly amazing for me. Where I am today is down to my role model, my mum who always gave me confidence to go out and conquer. I know she is looking down on me with joy. Thank you to all my supporters who voted for me,” Akhator said.

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It was also a glorious night for the basketball community as the D’ Tigress crowning it all with the Team of the Year award.

The glamorous award gala saw Aruna Quadri crowned the winner of Sportsman of the Year award while Ahmed Musa emerged the football of the Year.

The seventh edition of the award saw the River State Governor, Nyesom Wike emerged winner for his unflinching commitment to sports as the Governor of the year.

The President of Badminton Federation of the Year, Mr. Francis Orbih picked up the crown for the Sports Administrator of the Year.

The Racket Sportsperson of the Year award went to ace badminton player Yemisi Olatunji and the track and field star of the year award was won by ace sprinter, Tobiloba Amusan.

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The Para Sports Person of the Year award went to top para powerlifter, Commonwealth gold medalist and world record holder Esther Oyema.

For the Team Sports Person of the year, a member of the historic Bobsled team which represented Nigeria at the recently concluded winter Olympics, Seun Adigun emerged the winner.

The Wrestler of the Year went to Odunayo Adekuroye while the Nigerian Para Power-Lifting Coach, Are Feyisetan emerged winner for the Coach of the Year. The Discovery of the Year category was handed to Joy Udoh-Gabriel.

In the Journalism category, George Essien of Comfort Radio in Uyo, Akwa Ibom emerged the Radio Sports Presenter of the Year while the Journalist of the Year for Print category and Photojournalist of the Year were won by Gowon Akpodonor of the Guardian newspapers and Akeem Salau of Vanguard newspapers respectively

 

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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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Nigeria’s Rivers Hoopers Advance to 2024 BAL Playoffs

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Five Hoopers players scored in double digits with Devine Eke (18 points, 18 rebounds) and Peter Olisemeka (17 points, 19 rebounds) dominating the boards 

 Nigeria’ Rivers Hoopers beat Rwanda’s Armée Patriotique Rwandaise (APR) 78-71 in the first-ever BAL (https://BAL.NBA.com) double-overtime game and became the first Sahara Conference team to clinch a spot in the BAL Playoffs which are set to tip off at BK Arena in Kigali, Rwanda on May 24.
 
Five Hoopers players scored in double digits with Devine Eke (18 points, 18 rebounds) and Peter Olisemeka (17 points, 19 rebounds) dominating the boards as well. Will Perry added 11 points and seven assists in a low scoring affair in which both teams shot less than 40 percent from the floor.    
 
Jean Jacques Nshobozwabyosenumukiza led APR with 16 points and five rebounds, while Dario Hunt finished with 15 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists. Going into today’s matchups, APR is currently second in the Sahara Conference and will look to secure a postseason berth when they take on Senegal’s AS Douanes (4th place with 2 wins and 3 losses) this evening.
 
In the second game of the day, the 2022 BAL champions Tunisia’s US Monastir kept their playoff hopes alive, defeating AS Douanes 75-69 and getting their second straight win in the competition. This is a turnaround for the Tunisian champions who started the Sahara Conference from three straight defeats, but now stand one win away from the postseason. Chris Crawford led Monastir with 18 points and seven assists, Oussama Marnaoui scored 16, and Firas Lahyani finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
 
Abdoulaye Harouna led the Douanes with 22 points, with Adama Diakhite adding 14 points and nine rebounds.
 
APR, AS Douanes and US Monastir will compete for the last two playoff spots when the Sahara Conference concludes this afternoon – Rivers Hoopers will take on US Monastir at 2:30 p.m. GMT and AS Douanes will face APR at 5:30 p.m. GMT.    

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Basketball Africa League (BAL).


Basketball Africa League (BAL)

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NBBF Final Four: We are In Port Harcourt to win, says Gboko City Chiefs

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Gboko City Chiefs making presentation to Chris Green

The General Manager of Gboko City Chiefs Basketball Club, Fanen Iornem says they are in Port Harcourt to win the NBBF Final Four championship.

Iornem, who stated this on Wednesday during a courtesy visit to the Rivers Commissioner for Sports, Barr Chris Green, stressed that the team was ready for any opposition.

He opined that Gboko City Chiefs have bonded together sufficiently and are in high spirits to overcome opposing teams and land the title.

According to him, “I will just tell straight forward that we are here to win; in as much as bookmakers might want to say anything, we are happy that everybody is looking at us like the 4th team because this is our second season in NBBF league but we are here to win with the calibre of the players we have, we have everything we need to succeed.”

On basketball in Nigeria, the GM said that the level was high but was quick to add that there is the need for more championships and longer period of playing to improve the game.

Reiterating the GM’s position, Team captain, Antibas Samaila and Centre, Bright Osagie Akhuetie both said they were ready to give their all and were not scared of any team

While welcoming the team to Rivers State, Chris Green expressed delight that the final four championship was taking place in Port Harcourt and assured that necessary facilities and associated logistics have been put in place to enable hitch competition.

While explaining that basketball was is first love in sports, he noted that the State would be making best of the final four championship to prove the dominance of Rivers Hoopers amongst other teams.

Said he: We have in place what is probably the best basketball court in Nigeria as at today. We have done everything possible to ensure a great atmosphere for everybody.

“I am happy that the final four is here. There will be a level playing ground for every team, let basketball be the winner. Rivers Hoopers is the home of basketball in Nigeria and we have always been winning. I want to welcome every team to Rivers State.”

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Divided again, South Korea beat North Korea in Asian Games basketball

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Asian Games - Hangzhou 2022 - Basketball - Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Gymnasium, Hangzhou, China - September 29, 2023 South Korea's Haeran Lee in action with North Korea's Ryona Hong during the match REUTERS/Ann Wang Acquire Licensing Rights  

Having played in a unified team at the Asian Games in Jakarta five years ago, North and South Korea’s women basketballers battled each other in Hangzhou on Friday in a full-blooded contest that the South won 81-62.

In 2018, North Korea contributed three players to the 12-member roster coached by South Korean Lee Moon-Kyoo: Ro Suk-Yong, Kim Hye-yon and Jang Mi-gyong.

They won a silver medal, losing 71-65 to China in the final.

On Friday, at China’s Asian Games, a number of the roster returned, split on opposing sides for the Group C match at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Gymnasium.

Ro captained North Korea and guard Kim started on the bench, while South Korea had forward Kang Lee-seul, guard Park Ji-hyun and centre Park Ji-su among the 2018 alumni.

With South Korea and North Korea still technically at war, there has been diplomatic tension at the Games.

North Korean athletes refused to join South Korean rivals for a group photo of medal winners at the shooting competition.

With that backdrop, South Korea’s coach Jung Sun-min warned her players not to respond too aggressively if the game got physical.

It did at times, with North Korea’s 6ft-8in Pak Ji-na laying some bruising hits on her opponents.

“We also predicted this tense game in the locker room,” Jung told reporters.

“I reminded our players … definitely there will be some inevitable physical contact.

“However, we shall not over-react.

“And this shall not affect the competition, we will control ourselves.

“We were fully prepared for it. If they are strong, we will be stronger.”

North Korea had a cheer-squad numbering a few dozen people high up in the grandstand of the half-full stadium.

Wearing identical white T-shirts and baseball caps, they chanted throughout and cheered madly every time a South Korean was off target.

Yet with China a long-standing ally of North Korea, there was plenty of local support in the crowd.

South Korea trailed at the first quarter but big centre Park took command to drive them to a 33-25 lead at halftime and extend the lead to 20 points after the third quarter.

UNIFIED TEAMS

Unified Korean teams have played at several international events, in ice hockey at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang and also canoeing and rowing at the Jakarta Asian Games.

Further opportunities for sporting tie-ups have proved difficult, with North Korea not competing at any major multi-sport event since the 2018 Asian Games due to a combination of COVID-19 and suspension by Olympic authorities.

Whether North Korea’s basketball team would be open to another tie-up in future was not something their coach Jong Song-sim could answer during the post-match press conference.

A North Korea team official sitting beside Jong, who was an assistant coach of the unified team in 2018, said the question was not relevant.

A South Korean reporter who asked whether the North Korean team had enjoyed the local food and the support of local crowds at the Games was upbraided by the same official, who took exception that the reporter had not referred to the nation as “DPRK” (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) — as per Asian Games protocol.

“You should apologise,” the official snapped at the reporter, the question left unanswered.

South Korea’s Park said she was happy to see her former North Korean team mates five years on from Jakarta but suggested the emotion of the moment may have affected her.

“I actually didn’t give my best performance,” she told reporters.

“After five years, I finally see my opponent, I thought I would be pretty happy but I didn’t get any chance to talk to them.”

-Reuters

 

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