CHEPTEGEI’S MOMENTUM CONTINUES WITH 5KM WORLD RECORD

Joshua Cheptegei has turned his attention to winning his maiden title at the World Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia next month after bursting through the 13-minute barrier to improve the world 5km record in Monaco last weekend.

“This is a great confidence boost in my current form and my ability on the road,” said the 23-year-old Ugandan, who will be making his debut over the half marathon distance when he lines up in the Polish city in just under six weeks.

© IAAF

“Coming off a very successful 2019 it has been the perfect start to his season to show that his approach is already paying off,” his manager, Jurrie van der Velden, said. “He is very excited to see what the World Championships has in store.”

It took little time for Cheptegei to pick up in 2020 where he left off in 2019.

In a largely solo performance at Sunday morning’s Monaco Run 5km, Cheptegei shattered the world record over the distance, clocking 12:51* to clip a whopping 27 seconds from the previous mark of 13:18 set by Kenyan rival Rhonex Kipruto.

Cheptegei’s command performance not only eclipsed Kipruto’s pending world record and the most recently ratified record of 13:22, set by Robert Keter in Lille on 9 November, but also bettered the fastest time ever recorded for the distance, Sammy Kipketer’s 13:00 clocking in Carlsbad, USA, in 2000, well before the 5km became an official world record event in November 2017.

“I had sub-13 minutes in my mind so when my legs felt good during the race I decided to really go for it,” Cheptegei said. “To take this many seconds off the record makes me very happy and is a great first test for me in an important season.”

Making his record-breaking intentions clear, Cheptegei blitzed through the first kilometre in 2:31, before settling into a rhythm that produced 2:35, 2:36 and 2:35 subsequent kilometres. He sealed the record with a closing 2:32 kilometre. But the end result was by no means his limit, he believes.

“He thinks he can still improve on this world record,” Van der Velden, said. “There are some areas that allow for gains but he thinks that this world record has the chance to stand for a while.”

Sunday’s world record run was Cheptegei’s second in just 11 weeks.

On 1 December, Cheptegei smashed the world record for 10km, clocking 26:38* at the 10K Valencia Trinidad Alfonso. While the record was short-lived – Kipruto broke it six weeks later on a different course in the same Spanish city – the performance nonetheless capped one of the most sensational all-around distance running seasons in recent years.

That record run came less than two months after he cruised to the world 10,000m title in Doha where he clocked 26:48.36, the fastest in the world last year. And that about seven months after he led a Ugandan 1-2 finish at the World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus, clocking 31:40 over a notoriously difficult 10.24km course.

After his eagerly-anticipated appearance in Gdynia, Cheptegei will then focus his attention on the Olympic 10,000m final in Tokyo on 31 July where he’s expected to face defending champion Mo Farah, and quite likely, Kipruto, whom he had defeated in a thrilling battle in Doha last year.

Joshua Cheptegei, World Half Marathon Championships Gdynia, IAAF, © Etienne Fiacre
Joshua Cheptegei,
© Etienne Fiacre

– Cheptegei on his 2020 aspirations: ‘I want to go and make history’ (feature published today, 18 February)
– 5km world record report

Joshua Cheptegei – Personal bests:
1500m: 3:37.82 (2016)
3000m: 7:33.26 (2019)
Two Miles: 8:07.54 (2019)
5000m: 12:57.41 (2019)
10,000m: 26:48.36 (2019)
5km: 12:51 (2020) WR*
10km: 26:38 (2019)
15km: 41:05 (2018)
10km: 45:15 (2018)

5km world record progression:
12:51* – Joshua Cheptegei (UGA), Monaco, 16 Feb 2020
13:18* – Rhonex Kipruto (KEN), Valencia, 12 Jan 2020
13:22 – Robert Keter (KEN), Lille, 09 Nov 2019
13:29 – Edward Cheserek (KEN) Carlsbad, 06 Apr 2019
13:29 – Julien Wanders (SUI) Monaco, 17 Feb 2019
13:30 – Benard Kibet Lagat (KEN) Prague, 08 Sep 2018

*pending ratification

Nigeria’s Edem, Abiodun Qualify To Main Draw At ITTF Portugal Open

Nigeria’s Offiong Edem and Bode Abiodun have worked their way into the main draw of the 2020 ITTF Challenge Plus Portugal Open after their stunning victories on Thursday February 13th, in the preliminary round of the singles event.

Edem, who is competing in her first tournament in readiness for the doubles tournaments holding this month in Tunisia as by her performance against Kazakhstan’s Anastassiya Lavrova confirmed her readiness for the ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup and the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT).

Despite going down 3-1 (8-11, 11-4, 3-11, 16-18) in the tie, Edem regained her composure to record a convincing win over the European with 14-12, 11-6, 11-2 win to claim a 4-3 win coupled with a passage to the main draw of the women’s singles.

Like Edem, Abiodun is also competing in his first major tournament this year started well from the first round of the preliminary when he took down Scotland’s Niall Cameron 4-0 (11-6, 11-7, 11-3, 11-6) to et up a second round tie against Germany’s Cedric Meissner.

But the German gave Abiodun a tough challenge when he took a 2-1 (11-9, 5-11, 5-11) lead, the Nigerian international regained the lead to win the last three games at 11-7, 13-11, 11-9 to complete a 4-2 victory and sealed his place in the main draw of men’s singles.

Edem Offiong

Edem and Abiodun will join their compatriot – Olajide Omotayo who is already seeded in the main draw for their campaigns which serves off on Friday February 14th in the elite stage of the competition.

But what started well for teenage sensation – Taiwo Mati in his debut in international senior tournament came to an end on Thursday February 13th, as he fell to England’s Tom Jarvis 4-0 (4-11, 2-11, 5-11, 5-11) in the second round of preliminary. Mati had on Wednesday pummeled Guyana’s Miguel Wong 4-0 (11-5, 18-16, 11-4, 11-1) to pick some ranking points from the tournament.

Unlike Mati who sailed to the second round of the preliminary, Ismaila Akindiya was nowhere that stage as he was beaten early by Switzerland’s Lars Posch 4-1 (11-6, 1-11, 10-12, 3-11, 6-11) to make an early exit while Ganiat Aruna was no match to Italy’s Giorgia Piccolin after the former national junior champion fell 4-0 (1-11, 7-11, 4-11, 2-11) to the Italian star.

Uganda Women’s Central Rugby League Draws Close To The End

The second week of the URU Women’s Central Regional league had Black Pearls hosting Avengers at the Kings Park Arena. Black Pearls were coming off a historic 10-13 win against the defending champions Thunderbirds, while Avengers were playing their first match in the 3 team league. Avengers were first off the blocks using their powerful forwards to gain metres in the Pearls 22 before their captain Peace Lekuru made a break to score in the corner in the 7th minute. The tricky conversion was missed and Avengers held a slim 5 point lead for 15 minutes before a series of slick passes and offloads by the Pearls backline released Lydia Namabiro to dotdown in the corner. The conversion was also missed to tie the game but 5 minutes later.

Avengers winger, Isabella Abbo, capitalised on a sleeping Pearls defence to pick the ball off the back of a ruck in the Pearls 22 and sneak down the blindside to score in the corner. The subsequent conversion missed and Avengers took a 5 point lead again. Peace Lekuru was sent to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle but despite losing their hard hitting captain Avengers struck just before half time after Beatrice Atim crashed over from close range to go into the break leading by 10 points.

Uganda Women's Central Rugby League
Uganda Women’s Central Rugby League Nears End

Black Pearls came back from the break with more intent and their backline consistently troubled the Avengers defence until the Pearls winger, Linda Atoo, showed a clean pair of heels to get around the Avengers defence to score in the corner in the 48th minute. The conversion was missed but 10 minutes later, Mary Gloria Ayot made a brilliant line break to score between the posts. Tina Akello made the easy conversion and for the first time in the game, Black Pearls led but only by 2 points. Peace Lekuru was again on hand to score a captain’s try in the 30th minute after she scratched a penalty from the 5 to barrel her way over the line to recapture the lead.Juliet Nandawula was on hand to make the extras for Avengers to lead by 5 points once again.

Despite some determined onslaughts from Black Pearls, Avengers held firm to win 17-22. Black Pearls top the table standings with 5 points from 2 games while Avengers have 4 points from one game and Thunderbirds have 1 point from one game. Avengers host Thunderbirds this Saturday in a must win encounter for the defending champions.

Tokyo 2020 Volleyball Event Match Schedule Confirmed

The full match schedule for the men’s and women’s volleyball tournaments at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 has been confirmed, ahead of the ultimate sporting event of the planet due to be held in the Japanese capital from July 24th to August 9th.

Match schedule – Men – Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – Click here.

Match schedule – Women – Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – Click here.

As volleyball returns to the place where it made its Olympic debut in 1964, for the first time in history the competition will conclude with the women’s final, on Sunday, August 9, just a few hours ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Closing Ceremony and one day after the men’s gold is decided.

The Preliminary Round matches will be held on alternate days for men and women, each day including six matches in three sessions of two.

Women’s Olympic Schedule

Action begins with the men’s competition on Saturday, July 25, as Rio 2016 silver medallists Italy take on Canada at 9.00 local time (0.00 GMT). Defending champions Brazil open their campaign with the second match of the opening day at 11.05 (2.05 GMT) against African champions Tunisia.

The Preliminary Round in the men’s tournament concludes on Sunday, August 2 followed by quarterfinals on Tuesday, August 4 and semifinals on Thursday, August 6. The medals matches are scheduled for Saturday, August 8, starting at 13.30 local time (4.30 GMT) for the bronze medal match and at 21.15 (12.15 GMT) for the gold medal match.

Men’s Olympic 2020 Schedule

The order of quarterfinals and semifinals will be defined following the conclusion of the Preliminary Round and quarterfinals respectively, to ensure the maximum audience for the athletes and the sport in the different territories broadcasting the Olympic Games.

China celebrate

The women’s tournament begins on Sunday, July 26 with first serve at 9.00 local time (0.00 GMT) when Russia take on Italy. Defending champions China play their first game at 16.25 (7.25 GMT) against Turkey. African Representative Kenya will battle it out against hosts Japan.

Rio 2016 silver medallists Italy

The Preliminary Round in the women’s tournament concludes on Monday, August 3, followed by quarterfinals on Wednesday, August 5 and semifinals on Friday, August 7. The medals matches are scheduled for Sunday, August 9, starting at 9.00 local time (0.00 GMT) for the bronze and at 13.30 (4.30 GMT) for the gold.

All volleyball matches of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be held at the newly constructed Ariake Arena.

Basketball Africa League Names Two-Time NBA All-Star Luol Deng as League’s Global Ambassador

The Basketball Africa League (BAL) today named two-time NBA All-Star and 2012 Olympian Luol Deng as BAL Global Ambassador. Following his retirement from an NBA career that spanned 15 years, Deng will help grow the BAL’s profile throughout Africa and around the world, while inspiring African youth through basketball.

“I am thrilled to work with Luol in his new role as BAL Global Ambassador,” said BAL President, Amadou Gallo Fall. “He has been a great leader and an inspiring role model. His remarkable basketball journey includes an extraordinary 15-year NBA career, two All-Star selections and participation in the 2012 Olympic Games. Luol has been an integral part of our youth development efforts and has taken part in many of our initiatives across the continent since 2011. We look forward to working with him to establish the BAL as a world-class professional basketball league.”

“I am honored to represent the BAL as the league’s Global Ambassador,” said Deng. “We have a tremendous amount of talent in Africa and I am excited that some of that talent will be showcased through our new league. I look forward to following some of the top African club teams when the inaugural season gets underway next month and supporting the BAL in expanding its footprint around the world.”

Born in Wau, South Sudan, Deng was selected with the 7th overall pick by the Phoenix Suns in the 2004 NBA Draft and was subsequently traded to the Chicago Bulls where he played from 2004-2014. He also played for the Cleveland Cavaliers (2014), Miami Heat (2014-16), Los Angeles Lakers (2016-18) and Minnesota Timberwolves (2018-19), before signing a one-day contract with the Chicago Bulls to retire as a Bull ahead of the 2019-20 NBA Season.

BAL AFRICA, Basketball africa league logoBasketball Africa League, BAL, Luol Deng,

Deng is a two-time NBA All-Star (2012, 2013). He was a recipient of the 2007 NBA Sportsmanship Award and was named to the 2005 NBA All-Rookie First Team.

Deng was a member of the Great Britain National Team in the 2012 Olympic Games in London and captained Team Africa in the NBA Africa Games in 2015 and 2017. He regularly participates in youth development initiatives in Africa, including Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Africa. He was elected South Sudan Basketball Federation President in November 2019.

The inaugural BAL regular season will take place in Cairo (Egypt), Dakar (Senegal), Lagos (Nigeria), Luanda (Angola), Rabat (Morocco) and Monastir (Tunisia). Kigali (Rwanda) will host the first-ever BAL Playoffs and Finals. NIKE and Jordan Brand will be the exclusive on-court outfitter of the new professional league.

Additional details about the BAL will be announced in the coming days.

Reanne Evans And Nutcharut Wongharuthai Among BetVictor Snooker Shoot Out Wild Cards

Leading female players Reanne Evans and Nutcharut Wongharuthai are among the eight wild cards to be awarded places at the BetVictor Shoot Out to take place in Watford later this month.

The tournament has a unique format with all matches lasting a maximum of ten minutes within a single frame, with a shot clock of 15 seconds for the first five minutes and ten seconds for the last five.

The world ranking event runs from February 20 to 23 at the Watford Colosseum, with every match televised live on Eurosport.

In all there are 128 players in the field, including 118 professionals, eight wild cards and two from the Q School ranking list.

Evans won the Women’s World Championship for the 12th time last year and is top of the women’s world rankings. The 34-year-old played in the Shoot Out last year as well as the recent Champion of Champions where she ran Shaun Murphy close, losing 4-3.

Wongharuthai, age 20 from Thailand, was runner-up to Evans in last year’s world final and is currently ranked third. She also won the Australian Open last year and is the only female player to make a 147 in a practice match. The Shoot Out will be her first live televised match in the UK.

Reanne Evans And Nutcharut Wongharuthai

The other six wild cards selections, based in performance in the World Snooker Federation Open and the Challenge Tour, are:

Ashley Hugill. Age 25 from York. Won the recent World Snooker Federation Open.

Iulian Boiko. Age 14 from Ukraine. Runner-up at the recent World Snooker Federation Open.

Dean Young. Age 18 from Edinburgh. Won a Challenge Tour event this season and a former Scottish Under-21 Champion.

Sean Maddocks. Age 17 from Liverpool. Made a competitive 147 at the age of 15.

Aaron Hill. Age 17 from Cork. European Under-18 Champion in 2019 and a World Snooker Federation Open semi-finalist.

Robbie McGuigan. Age 15 from Antrim. Made his first 147 in practice aged just 13.

Leading pro players in the field will include five-time World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, who last played in the event in 2015, Mark Selby, Mark Williams, Shaun Murphy, Mark Allen, Stuart Bingham, Jimmy White and Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh who won the title last year.

The random draw will be made soon and announced on wst.tv

Tickets and VIP packages for the tournament are still available, for details: visitwst.tv/tickets

The tournament is the third of four events in the BetVictor European Series, with the leading money winner across the series to earn a bonus of £150,000. Current top two Neil Robertson and Judd Trump have not entered the BetVictor Shoot Out, giving several others a chance to gain ground if they can win the £50,000 top prize and put themselves into contention going in the last event, the BetVictor Gibraltar Open in March.

Gov. Fayemi Promises More Support For Football Development…as Ekiti FA Celebrates Him With Friendly Games

Ekiti state literally stood still at the weekend as Ekiti state football association brought the creme dela creme of Nigerian football into Ado-Ekiti, the state’s capital, to celebrate Governor John Kayode Fayemi on his birthday.

The fun filled day gave the impressive crowd at the Oluyemi Kayode stadium, lots of music, dance and of course, raw, entertaining and exciting football matches that had the crowd on the edges of their seats.

JKF, as the Ekiti state governor is called took the official kick off and also cut the beautiful cake presented by members of the NYSC and Ekiti FA, with assistance by some of the dignitaries including NFF 1st Vice president and Chairman of Lagos FA, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, Ekiti FA boss, Bayo Olanlege, as well as, Ekiti state Commissioner of Youth and Sports Development, Michael Awopetu.

In the first match, the Ekiti State chapter of the Okada riders association annihilated the Ekiti state artisans association 6-1. And in the main event, Ekiti state football association U16 team, named EKITI BEES played out a pulsating 1-1 draw against South Western Nigeria U16 selected side also interestingly called “Young Panthers”.

The match saw the lads displaying unbridled skill and techniques to the admiration of the dignitaries and the spectators. The “Panthers” made their fluid play and domination count as Faruk Balogun delicately chipped the ball over on rushing Tijani Azeez who was in goal for Ekiti Bees.

The EKSFA U16 responded by taking the game to their opponents and created several goal scoring opportunities that were repeatedly fluffed by the attackers. In one of the moves, Ogunjobi Kehinde missed a sitter after a surging run into the box.

However, in the 42nd minute, Ekiti Bees got the deserved equaliser through captain Olorunfemi Olayanju who cooly slotted ball into the net from the penalty spot with after mesmerising striker, Ogunjobi Kehinde was tripped in the box.

In the 55th minute, play was halted and the spectators rose to give the celebrant a clapping ovation that resonated around the stadium. While the NYSC band played soft tunes, amidst spectacular fireworks also on display.

On the resumption of play, it was end to end stuff by both sides that equally kept the two goalies busy, as they were made to make strings of jaw dropping saves to keep the scoreline even. Expectedly, too, the most valuable player of the 2019 JKF youth cup Damilola Adeyeye, who was the cynosure of all eyes, delighted the fans with his dribbles, wide range of passes and impressive displays on the evening.

Speaking with the press, Dr. Kayode Fayemi expressed delight with the progress of grassroots football in the state so far and promised that his administration will continue to support this progress. He further appreciated the organizers for putting up the event.

On her path, the First Lady of the state, Erelu Bisi Fayemi also promised that she will adopt the Ekiti State football association U16 team, the Ekiti Bees.

Gov. Fayemi Promises More Support For Football Development…as Ekiti FA Celebrates Him With Friendly Games

In his own remark, the Ekiti FA chairman, Mr. Bayo Olanlege appreciated the governor, his wife, the deputy governor and other top government functionaries for gracing the occasion and praised their impacts on football in developing football in Ekiti.

Olanlege was also full of appreciation for the football administrators and stakeholders from the Southwest of Nigeria led by the 1st Vice-President of NFF and Chairman of Lagos State Football Association, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, Otunba Tade Azeez, President Nigeria Referees Association, Oba James Adeniran (Oyo State FA), Alhaji Ganiyu Majekodunmi ( NFF executive board Member /Chairman Ogun State FA), Chief Mustapha Rasak ( Osun State FA), and other FA secretaries present at the event.

Akeem Busari

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