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Lack of fund threatens Nigeria’s historic participation at Youth Winter Olympics

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Nigeria, the only African country to qualify for the 2024 Youth Winter Olympics, is facing a major challenge: raising enough fund to send its team to Gangwon, South Korea.

The President of the Nigeria Curling Federation, Danmola Daniel revealed on Friday, that the Federation has been running from pillar to post in search of funds to organise a camping exercise for the Nigerian team ahead of the competition in South Korea but with no success.

He described the situation as disheartening while calling on the relevant authorities to urgently come to the aid of the team meant to represent Nigeria and by extension Africa at next year’s Youth Winter Olympics.

“We have done all we could trying to solicit for funds in and around the country and we couldn’t,” said the Nigerian Curling Federation boss.

“This is an amazing thing because we are not just talking about anyhow youth games, it is the Youth Winter Olympics. If it is football I’m sure money would come from every angle for that. An event such as the youth Winter Olympics should be encouraged because these kids were picked from every part of the country not that they had experience before or that people from the diaspora have come to play.”

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The Nigerian team qualified for the Youth Winter Olympics last December, but they need to train and compete in Finland and South Korea before the games begin in January.

With only 60 days left until the games, the team is running out of time.

“They qualified since last year December and this is the winter season from September to March and this is the time they should train,” Mr Danmola said. “Now we only have 60 days to go and in this 60-day window we only have one month which is December for them to be properly trained and camped for them to be able to fly to South Korea and compete yet there is no help.”

The Nigerian Curling Federation is appealing to the public and private organizations for help.

They are also hoping that the government will come through with some funding.

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“We plead with everyone to see how they can please help team Nigeria curling to get to a training camp in Finland and also in Gangwon to represent the country being the only African country that will be in South Korea in any discipline,” the Curling Federation boss said.

“This is a remarkable achievement and we look forward to receiving help from any quarters.”

Nigeria’s participation in the Youth Winter Olympics would be a historic achievement as the country gradually continues making inroads into winter sports.

Despite what appears to be a hopeless situation, the Nigerian Curling Federation is hoping that the public and private sectors will come together to help make this historic achievement possible.

 

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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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Olympics

Condoms to be shared, but athletes dislike anti-sex beds in Olympic Village

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An Olympic news website, Inside the Games has opened up on decision by Olympic Games’ organisers to use cardboard beds at the Games Village where the Paris 2024 athletes are camping.

It is simply to reduce athletes’ promiscuity. The use of cardboard bed was first implemented at the Tokyo 2020 held in 2021.

 However, it is gathered that the decision had its root in 2016 games in Rio Brazil. Then, there was a sex scandal involving a diver, Ingrid Olivera and rower, Pedro Goncalves.

Oliveira recounted that although news of their encounters leaked and reached the Brazilian Olympic Committee, her impeccable record allowed her to continue competing. However, the situation subjected her to a “painful public scrutiny.”

She was not alone in admitting that sexual relationships are common in the Olympic Village. To justify her actions, she reportedly mentioned the famous sprinter Usain Bolt, who was also involved in similar situations without receiving as much media attention.

“They distributed an impressive number of condoms in the Olympic Village. Were they for making balloons? Bolt brought a girl without credentials to his room, and many used Tinder. But those cases didn’t get leaked,” Oliveira remarked, frustrated by the injustice she experienced and still experiences to a lesser extent today.

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Celine Dion arrival sets tongues wagging at Paris 2024

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The arrival of Celine Dion in Paris has sparked rumours that the Canadian singer who on account of health issues, has not performed for some time could be a surprise actress in Friday’s Opening Ceremony of Paris 2024.

Dion is one of the greatest international artists of recent decades. Her career has reached major milestones. She was already a star when she performed the theme song for the film Titanic, “My heart will go on”.

Following this, she became one of the most famous and world renowned artists.

 But two years ago, she was diagnosed with Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS), a rare neurological disease. It was discovered in the middle of the 20th century, but since then, no cure has yet been found. Patients receive palliative treatments, but they are less effective when the disease progresses.

What SPS causes is involuntary muscle spasms. It affects Dion’s walking and singing. She recounted this in a documentary entitled “I am: Celine Dion”, released by Prime Video last June.

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Olympics

It’s an honour to captain Team Nigeria, says record-making Anu Opeyori

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Anuoluwapo Opeyori whose appointment as the  as the General Team Captain for Nigeria at the Paris 2024 Games sets a record as the first badminton player to lead the country at the Olympic Games continues his record-making spree.

His qualification for Paris 2024 has made him Nigeria’s first back-to-back badminton player at the Olympics. He is one of the 173 badminton players at Paris 2024. He featured at the delayed Tokyo 2020 and will thus made a back-to-back appearance.

Here in France, he told the Sports Village Square that he is elated to be named to captain Nigeria and gave his gratitude to the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) for the honour. “I see it as a higher call to service”, remarked the badminton player who is out to make history to become the best ever African badminton player at the Olympics.

Prior to now, he had told BBC that: “my target is to get to the quarter-final because once I’m able to win one game, I believe that will be a big upset for everyone and I should be able to achieve more than that.”

From being out to end Africa’s Olympic badminton jinx comes the additional pressure to meet his aspirations. “No sir”, there is no additional pressure. It is a higher call to service”, he told Sports Village Square.

“I assure you that Team Nigeria shall make great marks at these Games.” He remarked that the captainship has inspired him to be a role model to the athletes and youths of his generation.

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“I am now compelled to be a leader and take care of the athletes’ welfare and lift their spirits. I am out to inspire them with the ‘can do’ spirit.

“We are moving from the realm of just participants to being strong competitors”, said Opeyori.

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