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TOKYO 2020: NIGERIA CALLS FOR REVIEW OF OFFICIATING STANDARDS

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Nigeria has called for an urgent review of officiating standards in Olympic sports ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to sustain the credibility of the global sports fiesta.

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung who made the call at a Country Meeting with Tokyo 2020 organisers on Monday in Tokyo, Japan as he lodged a strong protest against officiating standards particularly in boxing, which he said is yet to conform to the standard in other Olympic Combat sports.

Dalung who led a high powered delegation including the President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, NOC, Habu Gumel and other NOC Technical Officials warned of the risk to the credibility of the whole Olympics if member countries perceive that there’s no level playing field in certain sports because of subjective officiating standards.

“While other combat sports like taekwondo, karate, wrestling and judo have digitized their scoring system with scoreboards showing real time scores, boxing is still maintaining a standard where individuals would whisper among themselves at the end of a bout and unilaterally declare a winner without any transparent system of scoring. How can there be fairness in such a situation when results are determined by the whims and caprices of individuals?” Dalung queried.

 

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He cited the example of the Rio 2016 Olympics where a Nigerian boxer secured several knock downs of his opponent in a bout only for the officials to whisper among themselves and declare the opponent winner thereby attracting loud protests  even from spectators adding that if the sport does not digitize its scoring system at Tokyo 2020 then countries like Nigeria would be left with no option than to participate at nominal level knowing they have no medal prospects under such officiating standards, a scenario he said will not augur well for the credibility of the games.

 

Responding the Executive Director International Relations of Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee Aki Murasato noted Nigeria’s concerns and promised that the organisers will convey these observations to the International Boxing Federation, which sets such officiating standards in boxing, while advising that the Nigeria Boxing Federation should similarly lodge a complaint with the world boxing body.

 

During the two hour interactive session the Nigerian delegation watched multi-media presentations from different sub committees including Events and Venues, Accommodation and Feeding, International Relations as well as Hospitality House Committees.

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The briefings are aimed at updating member countries with the level of preparations for the Olympiad while providing them with first hand information on available facilities for the games to enable them make informed choices and decisions to ensure the smooth participating of their Olympic Teams.

 

Nigeria is the first African country to take advantage of the one on one meeting with Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee arranged on the fringe of the XXIII ANOC General Assembly holding from 27th – 29th November, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan.

 

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Earlier the Nigerian Sports Minister Solomon Dalung had inspected Olympic and Paralympics Training Camps being offered by Kisarazu City, a serene community about 1 hour drive outside Tokyo.

Accompanied by Nigeria’s Ambassador to Japan, Prof. Mohammed Gana Yisa, NOC President Habu Gumel, he inspected Track and Field, Multi-purpose Indoor Sports Complex and Accommodation facilities being proposed for Team Nigeria.

The City renowned for its famous Aqua -Line, a 10 Kilometre tunnel 57 metres under the sea, which cuts travel time between Tokyo and Kisarazu to 40 minutes, is one of two cities offering to host Team Nigeria camping for the Tokyo Olympics. The other, Oyama City, is offering camping facilities for Two Sports namely, Basketball and Weightlifting.

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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Manu Garba proud of Eaglets as team countenances Niger Republic

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Coach Manu Garba has asserted that he is proud of the Golden Eaglets after Thursday’s scoreless encounter with their Burkina Faso counterparts in the Group B opener of the WAFU B U17 Championship.

 Five-time champions Nigeria created several scoring chances particularly late in the game at the Accra University Stadium, but failed to utilise even one that could have earned them the three points and handed them early leadership of the pool.

 However, Garba said the boys played a cohesive game in their first-ever international outing and deserve credit for their display.

 “We are proud of our team’s performance. Although we didn’t secure the win that we hoped for, our players showed great teamwork and sportsmanship. We look forward to our next match and the opportunity to continue growing and improving.

 “The boys will get better with experience and exposure.”

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 Against the Burkinabes, the Eaglets showed flair and fluency, but a heavy downpour in the final 15 minutes of the game disrupted the general flow of play, with the pitch waterlogged and effective control and passing impossible.

 The Golden Eaglets go up against their counterparts from the Niger Republic on Sunday evening (6pm Ghana time; 7pm Nigeria) with renewed hope and vigour to pick up the three points that will enhance their chances of a place in the last four.

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Paris to face major disruption ahead of Games opening ceremony, says police chief

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Paris will face major disruption ahead of the Olympics opening ceremony along the Seine on July 26, as organisers ramp up security measures to safeguard the event, the city’s police chief said on Thursday.

Organisers hope the opening ceremony, in which 160 boats carrying athletes from around the world will travel a 6 kilometre route along the Seine river towards the Eiffel tower, will deliver a jaw-dropping spectacle. Some 300,000 spectators will watch from the banks of the Seine as a global audience tunes in on TV.

But the ceremony is also a major security headache, taking place against a backdrop of wars in Ukraine and Gaza. French President Emmanuel Macron has already floated the possibility of scrapping the river ceremony and reverting to at least two back-up plans if the security risks become untenable.

Paris residents with a view of the Seine can invite friends to watch the opening of the 2024 Summer Games from their balconies, but should prepare for heavy traffic and limited movement, Paris police chief Laurent Nunez said at a press conference.

Adjacent metro stations, most river crossings and all water traffic will be halted in the week before the open-air ceremony, Nunez said, adding that some bridges will remain open “in order not to cut Paris in two halves.”

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Everyone who wants to access the immediate surroundings of the Seine in the week before the Games will need to sign up on an online platform, Nunez said. Local residents hoping to access their homes, which are among the most prestigious addresses in France, will need to do the same.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, who also spoke at the event said the disruption would impact around 20,000 residents and business owners.

Asked about Macron’s comments earlier this month, Nunez said his teams were still working on the ‘Plan A’ of the river ceremony.

“As of today, we have no reason to be worried,” Nunez said.

-Reuters

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New dawn expected as Nigeria sports ministry partners with Yanga Games

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Towards creating a new dawn for Nigerian Sports,  the Federal Ministry  of Sports has signed a landmark  agreement with  top lottery  company Yanga Games to raise the revenue profile of the Ministry  and ensure a new deal for the welfare of athletes. 

Speaking during the unveiling  of the partnership between  the Ministry  and  Yanga  Games in Lagos on Friday,  Chairman/CEO of Yanga Games  Derrick  David Kentebe  said: “we are so super excited by this opportunity to work  with the Ministry  of Sports Development to change the narrative about Sports in the country. 

Continuing, he remarked: “We see opportunity for marketing our athletes  and sports generally . We shall avail ourselves  the best use  of this unique and  special partnership. We shall pursue this mandate with vigour, passion and unrivaled  commitment  to bring benefits to all the critical stakeholders.”

The agreement  according  to Kentebe  will provide  support for retired athletes, enhance grassroot  sports Development and advance the potentials of  special athletes.

He assured that ” Yanga Games has the capacity to  raise funds on behalf of the Ministry  of Sports for athletes  Development, endorsement and sponsorship deals for athletes”. 

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Minister of Sports Senator John Owan Enoh assured that the Ministry has total and absolute  confidence  in Yanga Games to deliver on the given mandate.

“Gone are the era when we depended solely  on government  to fund sports  development.  We are partnering with  Yanga Games to bring maximum  benefits  to the athletes and all critical stakeholders.

“We shall give institutional encouragement and support to the Management of  Yanga Games to succeed in this onerous task of rebuilding our sports sub sector.”

Speaking further, Kentebe  said ” We shall raise about 34 Billion in the next four years to assist athletes and improve sports in the country.

“We shall help to develop  grassroot  sports and  sustain youth involvement  through raffle draws, fund raiser and other avenues.

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