After weeks of training which started in Atlanta and ended in Turkey, African Champions, D’Tigress will start their 2018 FIBA Women’s World Basketball cup campaign against Australia on Saturday by 12:30am Nigerian time.
D’Tigress who are ranked 34th in the world by FIBA will square up against world number 4, Australia at the San Cristobal de La Laguna, Santiago Martin Arena in Tenerife.
Without any previous record of meetings, both sides’ target will be starting the tournament on a strong note with a win.
Reacting before the game, D’Tigress Head coach Otis Hughley is confident of his team’s readiness to confront any opposition.
“We were born ready for this. There is no point in coming to such events like this just to add to the numbers. We have done what we should have done within the time allowed for training and the general consensus in the team is that we are good to go.”
D’Tigress having enjoyed an unprecedented support from the leadership of the Nigeria Basketball Federation are determined to repay the faith with world class performance at the highest stage of world basketball.
Team captain, Adaora Elonu said is grateful to the NBBF for their support.
“We can’t thank the federation enough for this level of preparation. I have been around the National team set up for a while and I can confidently say this is the first time we’ve had this type of preparation.”
She said the team is not under pressure heading into their first game as she promised that the girls are determined to try their best at the world cup.
Besiktas of Turkey player, Evelyn Ahkator while echoing her team mates’ belief said that as African Champions, the onus lies on them not just to fly the Nigerian flag alone but that of every other basketball playing nations in Africa.
“In 2017, nobody believed we could win the Afrobasket in Mali. It is our time to prove to the world that Nigeria is not a push over.”
The team will be hoping to make history as the first African team to win a world cup match and also record their first victory at the world stage.
…Promises greater focus on youth programs, says football’s winner…Maigari ‘proud of what Pinnick has achieved’
An overwhelming majority of the Congress of Nigerian Football on Thursday in the city of Katsina re-elected incumbent Amaju Melvin Pinnick for a second term as President of the Nigeria Football Federation, with the history – maker immediately paying glowing tributes to President Muhammadu Buhari and top officials of the Federal Government for their huge efforts in sustaining association football in Nigeria.
Pledging to focus even harder on youth development programs in his second tenure, Pinnick, who is also the 1st Vice President of the Confederation of African Football, said there is no victor and no vanquished in the race as football remained the ultimate winner.
In his acceptance speech, Pinnick specifically thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, the Chief of Staff to the President, the DG, Department of State Services and the Inspector General of Police for their tremendous support for the board.
“We respectfully ask for more support as we start a new tenure, during which we aim to consolidate on our vision of building a sustainable football culture for our dear country, and continue the great march towards ensuring financial independence for the NFF.
“We owe this country a lot, and we are committed to working hard to give back so much to it. We intend to set up a reconciliation team in a few days to reach out to aggrieved members of the football family with a view to bringing everyone under one umbrella for the purpose of a united front in the pursuit of the greater good for Nigerian Football.”
The NFF supremo also thanked the Governors of Delta and Edo States for their understanding and support, as well as players and officials of the various National Teams for their efforts in doing Nigeria proud at all times.
A festival atmosphere reigned in the ‘Home of Hospitality’ as the full machinery of government was in motion to watch over the big occasion of the NFF 2018 Elective Congress, alongside the presence of observers from world football –governing body, FIFA and the Confederation of African Football.
At the opening ceremony, Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State poured encomiums on the NFF administration led by Pinnick for its major strides over the past four years, noting trophies won in the FIFA U17 World Cup, Women Africa Cup of Nations, the U23 and U20 Africa Cup of Nations, Olympic football bronze and the recent WAFU U17 Cup triumph in Niger Republic. He praised the aggressive marketing drive of the administration that has galvanized a steady move towards financial independence, while pledging that the Government of Katsina State will continue to invest in football development because of the game’s virtues of youth empowerment and meaningful engagement.
During the polls, which was conducted by the NFF Electoral Committee put in place by the NFF Congress at last year’s General Assembly in Jos, Plateau State on 19th October 2017, Pinnick swept aside three other contestants, polling 34 votes to second–placed Aminu Maigari’s 8, with former international Taiwo Ogunjobi getting only 2 votes. There was none for club owner Chinedu Okoye.
In the event, Pinnick became the first man since Father Dennis Slattery (of blessed memory) in 1957 to be elected back-to-back to one of the hottest seats in world football.
Second–placed Maigari, the immediate past occupier of the office, warmly embraced Pinnick after the vote, saying: “The vote has come and gone, and football is the winner. The focus is football development. I bear no grudge and I must say that I am indeed delighted by the strides that Amaju Pinnick has taken since taking over from me four years ago. He is like a son and I am proud of him.”
Incumbent Seyi Akinwunmi was even more emphatic in retaining his seat, bagging 41 of the votes to challenger Sunday Dele-Ajayi’s 2. One vote was deemed invalid.
In other votes, incumbent Ibrahim Musa Gusau retained his seat as Chairman of Chairmen on the Board, polling 42 of 44 votes, following the withdrawal of Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah on the floor of the election.
Ahmed Yusuf Fresh and Suleiman Yahaya-Kwande retained their seats on the board, after a nerve–jangling contest that went to three rounds. Chairman of Kwara State Football Association, Busari Ishola was eliminated in the first round after polling only 10 votes, leaving Yusuf and Fresh to vie in the second. Fresh edged it 22-21, and Ishola was then re-instated to challenge Yahaya-Kwande for the remaining slot from North Central. In the event, Yahaya-Kwande won by 28 votes to 14.
Emmanuel Ibah defeated Oswald Atuake 28 votes to 15 to win the remaining slot from the South South (following Pinnick’s re-election), while Ganiyu Majekodunmi and Sharif Rabiu Inuwa were unopposed for the South West and North West slots.
Three candidates slugged it out in the South East, with Enyimba FC chairman Felix Anyansi-Agwu winning the lone slot available (as Chidi Ofo Okenwa still has a seat as Chairman of the Nigeria National League). Anyansi-Agwu polled 32 votes, to nearest challenger Emmanuel Ochiagha’s 8. Jude Obikwelu and Pastor Emeka Inyama, who withdrew from the contest on the floor of the election, still got two votes and one vote respectfully.
FIFA observers Luca Piazza and Solomon Mudege, and CAF observer Sita Sangare witnessed both the opening ceremony and the entire Elective Congress proper.
Chairman of the Electoral Committee, Barrister Muhammed Sani Katu afterwards swore in the new Board.
Next up for Pinnick is his formal inauguration as the 1st Vice President of CAF, at the body’s Extraordinary General Assembly in Egypt on Sunday, 30th September.
At 43, Olufunke Oshonaike is not giving up on her plan of setting a new continental record as the first African female athlete to attend seven Olympic Games.
Since making her debut at the Olympic Games in Atlanta 1996 in United States, Oshonaike has represented Nigeria at six Olympic Games and she is poised on making it to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.
The former African champion was beaten in the round of 16 of the women’s singles at the 2018 ITTF African Championships in Mauritius but she has insisted that she cannot be forced to quit the sport that she has been romancing for more than three decades.
The Germany-based star said that she would continue to feature for Nigeria with the intention of making it to her seventh Olympic Games in 2020 Tokyo, Japan.
“I am looking forward to the 2019 African Games with the sole aim of qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. If I qualify I will be on top of the world because that will be the last time I will play table tennis and after the Olympic Games I will throw in the towel,” she said.
She added: “I feel very sad because I lost in the singles but I am still good to play for few years. I look younger than my age and i’m not bothered about what people say because age is nothing but a number. It will be my decision to retire but I hope I qualify for the Olympic Games in order to enter the ‘Seventh Club’. After then I can quit.”
Still ruing the women’s team final loss to Egypt, Oshonaike said the team gave their best against the youthful Egyptians, adding that she hopes that younger players come through to the team in near future. “I think we need new players in this team. The Egyptians are familiar with some of us particularly our style of play. So we need to change something in this team with the introduction of new players and this will surely help us whenever we need them again in any competition,” she said.
Denmark’s Stinna Tange Kaastrup made her global breakthrough in the Para Dressage competition at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon, North Carolina (USA) today with her mount Horsebo Smarties, taking gold in the Grade II Individual competition.
Kaastrup was a double bronze medallist at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, and has medalled at four European championships, is celebrating her first world title. She rode Horsebo Smarties to score 72.735% ahead of Austria’s multi world, European and Paralympic champion Pepo Puch, who scored 72.676% on Sailor’s Blue. The Netherlands’ Nicole den Dulk came third, on Wallace N.O.P. with 70.735%.
The 98 sailors from 39 nations racing at the 2019 Para World Sailing Championships in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, USA had a cool introduction to Lake Michigan as racing across the four fleets got underway.
Unseasonably warm temperatures had blessed Sheboygan in the days leading up to the Championships, but a shift in conditions meant that the opening day was held under cloudy skies, cool temperatures and a variable 5-10 knot north-easterly breeze.
Although it was cool in the air, the action was hot on the water as 27 races were completed across the 2.4 Norlin OD, Women’s Hansa 303, Men’s Hansa 303 and the RS Venture Connect.
Damien Seguin (FRA) snapped up a race win and a second in the 38-boat 2.4 Norlin OD fleet. His first victory was a commanding one, as he explained, “I was second at the first upwind but then I took the lead and got a big advantage. It was a good race for me.”
However, things could have been different in the second race, “Oof – it was amazing,” he said laughing, “Five boats were leading and after the downwind mark, one group chose the left and the others chose the right. There was no wind but it filled in on the right where I was so it was crazy. Anyone could have won.”
Seguin has been in fine form in 2018 in the 2.4 Norlin OD, winning the World Cup in Hyéres, France and the European Para Sailing Championship but recently, he’s been sailing a boat 52 feet more than the 2.4.
“I’m happy to be sailing in the 2.4 again after sailing in the IMOCA 60. It’s not the 2.4,” he laughed.
“I got the boat in March and I’ve done many races. I have my qualification for the next Route du Rhum in November. I have a lot to learn but I feel good in the boat. I’m really happy sailing this boat and after the Route du Rhum I’ll sail in the Vendée Globe in 2020. I’ve found a sponsor so it’s on the way – I’m happy.”
Heiko Kroger (GER) won the second race and a second in the opening race means he’s tied with Seguin. Dee Smith (USA) is third, four points off the leaders.
The RS Venture Connect made its debut in the Para World Sailing Championships and Alexandra Rickham and Hannah Stodel (GBR) had the best of the day. Rickham, a London 2012 bronze medallist, and Stodel, a multiple world champion in the Sonar, are two of the most experienced competitors in the fleet and it showed as they won four of six races in Group A.
“All in all it seemed to go alright,” said a modest Rickham. “I can’t be unhappy about today. It was quite varied and the wind was really up and down. The sea state was all over the shop as well.
“There was quite a bit of swell at the beginning but that flattened off, so lots of big wind shifts in the second half. It was quite difficult and a lot of us haven’t sailed the boat that much so it was quite a big learning curve.”
Gianluca Raggi and Davide di Maria (ITA) snapped up three victories in Group B.
Racing in groups continues on Wednesday and the winner of each group will automatically advance to the winner-take-all race on Saturday.
The Men’s Hansa 303 are split into six groups of six sailors. On the opening day, the competitors sailed two groups at the time and completed 12 races.
After the first day of qualifying, the leaderboard is in its early stages but Jens Kroker (GER), Piotr Cichocki (POL), Ange Margaron (FRA) and Christopher Symonds (AUS) showed great form and will be medal contenders.
Just one race was possible in the Women’s Hansa 303.
Racing resumes at 10:00 local time on Wednesday 19 September.
Eventing fans at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ Tryon 2018 were treated to one of the thrilling afternoons of sport as four days of compelling competition came down to the very final show jumping fence.
Ultimately, it was Great Britain’s Rosalind Canter, riding Allstar B, who proved to be the star of a spectacular show with her double clear round proving critical in securing her individual gold and giving Great Britain the world title, to go with their 2017 European crown.
Ireland, led by individual silver medallist Padraig McCarthy, broke records all over the place. The country’s team silver was their first team medal at a world championships since the inaugural event in 1966, while McCarthy’s individual success was the nation’s first since John Watson – father of current team member Sam Watson – finished second 40 years ago.
“There were quite a few tears which really isn’t very normal for me. It’s absolutely incredible!”
Rosalind Canter (Team GB)
“There were quite a few tears which really isn’t very normal for me. It’s absolutely incredible,” said Canter, who entered the arena with Team GB just 0.20 points ahead of Ireland, after poles down for both Tom McEwen and Piggy French. “In the back of my mind I did know (the team situation) but I was just focused on my horse and my warm-up. You have to try and block that out.”
Canter, who won European team gold with Great Britain in 2017, was quick to praise legendary eventing coach Chris Bartle, emphasising how the 66 year old has made her “less intense” since he joined the team at the end of 2016.
Ireland, who had started the day a significant 8.20 points behind the British, were in rampant form throughout, highlighted by the confident McCarthy on Mr Chunky.
“In a previous life I used to be a show jumper, so it gave me a lot of confidence,”McCarthy said, before confirming medals have long been on his mind. “I have dreamt about it for the last six months, at least. With a horse like this you have to dream big.”
With joy for some came heartache for others. Germany’s Ingrid Klimke seemed destined to add the ultimate sparkle to her glittering career with a first ever individual world championship gold right up until the moment she and mount SAP Hale Bob OLD flicked the last fence and handed the glory to Canter.
“If somebody had told me before I would come here and get individual bronze I would have been very happy,” said the WEG 2014 team gold medallist. “It was very close, last fence, last rail, for sure the first moment I was disappointed but it was the only mistake that we did on the whole weekend.”
Reigning Olympic team champions France took team bronze, although their celebrations were tinged with regret as Lieutenant Colonel Thibaut Vallette and Astier Nicolas, lying fourth and fifth respectively after the cross country, both knocked a pole down to ruin hopes of climbing onto the individual podium.
Team Japan produced a stunning display to finish fourth overall, suggesting that the home nation could be one to watch come the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
With hosts Japan already guaranteed a place at the 2020 Games, Germany and Australia booked their tickets by finishing fifth and sixth respectively before New Zealand, buoyed by Burghley 2018 winner Tim Price’s eighth place overall, snatched the final qualification spot.