ISSF Shotgun World Cup: Wei Meng Steals The Show In Larnaka…

Wei Meng Steals The Show In Larnaka, beating Rhode to win women’s Skeet final

Wei Meng of the People’s Republic of China, 27, won today’s Skeet Women final at the ISSF Shotgun World Cup in Larnaka, Cyprus.

The 27-year old shooter scored 54 targets in the final to beat USA’s 6-time Olympic medalist Kimberly Rhode, who finished in second with 52 hits.

Wei had passed through the qualifications with 71 hits, and survived a shoot-off scoring +13 and +10 targets to advance to the final match.

There she shot solidly, missing just 6 targets out of 60 to end up on the highest step of the podium. Wei had won a world cup silver in Tucson (USA) in 2014 and a bronze in Acapulco (MEX) in 2015. Through today’s victory she qualified for the 2017 ISSF World Cup Final, that will be held in New Delhi in October, when she hopes to improve her records (she won two world cup final silver medals in 2014 and 2016).

The Chinese winner stole the show to Kimberly Rhode, who arrived here in Larnaka as the favorite after winning the 2016 ISSF World Cup Final and the first two ISSF World Cup Stages of the season in New Delhi and Acapulco. The 37-year old 6-time Olympic medalist took today’s Silver as she missed 8 targets in the final, in spite of qualifying with the highest score (73 hits out of 75 targets) this morning.

Wei Meng Steals The Show In Larnaka, beating Rhode to win women’s Skeet final

Following Rhode, it was the 2010 Asian Champion Sutiya Jiewchaloemmit of Thailand, ranked fourth in the world, who claimed today’s Bronze medal with 41 hits. The 30-year old shooter missed her chances to finish upon the second step of the podium as she dropped a fatal target on station 5.

The two Italian finalists Simona Scocchetti and Chiara Cainero ended up in 4th and 5th places with 30 and 22 hits, respectively. Rhode’s teammate Dania Jo Vizzi took place 6 with 15 hits while making her first appearance in a world cup final round.

Over 400 athletes from 61 countries are competing in the ISSF Shotgun World Cup in Larnaka, the last shotgun stage of the year. The competition will continue tomorrow, with the men’s Skeet final, scheduled at 17.45 (UTC+3).

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Nigeria Impresses ITF as Tombim Abuja Open Serves Off

International Tennis Federation (ITF) Head of Operations for Africa and Middle East, Iain Smith has stated that the world governing body is impressed with Nigeria’s growing commitment to tennis.

The South African gold badge referee, who conducted a three-day ITF/CAT Workshop and Refresher Course for White Badge officials in West and Central Africa which held from April 27th – 29th 2017 in Abuja, urged the country not to relent in the drive to reach a high standard in the sport.

“The ITF is aware of the commitment to tennis development in Nigeria. Gradually, Nigeria is getting more international tournaments in addition to the Lagos Governor’s Cup which has the highest prize-money in Africa for ITF Futures men and women . This is good for Nigeria and the game and we are very impressed,” he said, after the course which featured 11 Nigerians, a Ghanaian and a Togolese.

Meanwhile the 3rd Tombim Abuja Open will serve off Monday with seven Nigerians competing in the main draw of 32.

Nigeria’s best ranked player Sylvester Emmanuel (1160) faces a tough tie as he battles world no 311 Italian Alessandro Bega, who is seeded third.

Emmanuel Idoko, a wildcard beneficiary, has a daunting task against second seed Canadian, Brayden Schnur, who is the world number 308.

Clifford Enosoregbe (left) with Henry Atseye at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan

Clifford Enosoregbe keeps a date with British qualifier, Joe Cooper just as Emmanuel Emeruwa confronts seventh seed, Benjamin Lock of Zimbabwe ranked no 457.

Also, Imeh Ubon battles Mark Fynn of Zimbabwe while Thomas Otu heads for a showdown with Henry Atseye in an all-Nigeria clash.

The Tombim Open is the first of the three ITF Futures billed for Nigeria to be followed by the Dayak Championship and the GSL Open which are also holding this May.

Ojo Onaolapo…On Redemption Mission In Dusseldorf

When Ojo Onaolapo made it to the quarterfinal of the boys’ singles at the 2010 World Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, it was clear that he is another Nigerian star in the making.

Four years later at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, he became the saviour of Nigeria as he single-handedly won the bronze medal for Nigeria in the men’s team event after his historic win over highly-rated Indian star, Sharath Achanta.

This performance aided his movement to Italy where spent one season before moving to Portugal in 2016 where he now plies his trade with ADC Ponta Do Pargo.

Ojo Onaolapo

After his last appearance for Nigeria at the 2016 World Team Championship in Malaysia, Ojo Onaolapo has not featured for his country. His recent resurgence in the Portuguese league may have prompted Nigeria to recall him to the Nigerian team.

An elated Ojo Onaolapo was quick to admit that he would utilise the opportunity handed to him again to be part of the strong Nigerian team to the 2017 ITTF World Championships in Dusseldorf, Germany.

“I am so happy that I have another opportunity to prove myself in this big arena. I will want to reenact my Commonwealth Games feat again by giving my 100 percent commitment to the team. I want to win back my fans by doing better than what I did at the 2014 Commonwealth Games,” he said.

Having listed in the Nigerian team to the 2012, 2014 and 2016 World Team Championships, Ojo Onaolapo will be making his debut at the individual World Championship in Germany and he is aware of the quality of players expected at the tournament by saying, “This is a big tournament and the best players in the world are expected in Germany. I want to play better and justify my inclusion in the Nigerian team,” he added.

“Nigerian team is among the best in the world considering the quality of the players in the team. Players are selected based on merit and recent performance. You are not selected based on your previous performance but based on your current outing and this makes it more difficult for any player to make the team,” Ojo Onaolapo explained.

However, the 24-year-old believes the respect commanded by his compatriot – Aruna Quadri has always boosted his confidence whenever he is featuring in an international competition.

Nigeria’s Ojo Onaolapo serves the ball to India’s Kamal Sharath Achanta (unseen) during their Bronze Medal Team table tennis match at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on July 28, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ANDREJ ISAKOVIC

“My target is to qualify from the group before thinking of the next thing. But I must say that Aruna Quadri has shown us the way to beat the best in the game. He has made us realise that anything is possible as long as you remain focused and work hard. His humility and dedication to the sport are among the lessons I have picked from Aruna Quadri. So for me, I fear nobody and I look forward to a good outing as anything is possible in table tennis,” the 2015 U-21 Lagos Open Champion said.

On his first season in the Portuguese league, Ojo Onaolapo admitted that playing in Portugal has improved his game while he has gained more confidence playing against the best. “I played one season in Italy and I think the Italian league is good for beginners and it is a stepping stone to bigger league in Europe. The structure in Italy is good and the standard is high but the quality of players in Portugal cannot be compared to the ones in Italy. We have fantastic players in the Portuguese league and this makes it more competitive and challenging for players like us,” he said.

South-West Rugby Union League: Cowrie To Face Arch Rivals Police….

…Cowrie to face arch rivals Police as Racing battle newly promoted Lagos rugby Club

Week 2 action in Friends of Rugby- South West League gets on the way on Sunday, April 30th at the Onikan Stadium, Lagos.

The first set of four matches will see Division 2 sides; Gosar Rugby Club face Panthers Rugby club at 10am after which Eco II Rugby Club will take to the field against Lagos Dragons RFC in the second match of the day at 12pm.

Eco II recorded an 18-0 win over Panthers whilst Gosar RFC beat Lagos Dragons 17 – 5 in week 1.

The second set of matches will see last year’s runners up; Racing Rugby Club play against newly promoted Lagos Rugby Club at 2pm and the final match of the day will see defending champions; Cowrie Rugby Club face The Nigeria Police team at 4pm.

Back into the Police side to play left wing is Nigeria’s fastest winger; Abdul-Malik Salihu. The former track and field sprinter was missing in action against Racing in week one as they lost 14-15 to the Victoria Island based side. Prop, Tobi Adebayo will also be looking to repeat his top performance that saw him score a remarkable try against Racing and fly half; Samson Yahaya will battle it out with Cowries fly half; Azeez Ladipo.

Cowrie’s prop; Sunday Bassey has been named on the squad to face Police after missing out on their 39-0 week 1 victory against Lagos RFC. No 8 man; Isaac Sani is also back to full fitness to face the Police team on Sunday.

The CMB Building Maintenance & Investment Co. Ltd sponsored league promises to be a delight to watch. All Rugby fans are urged to come down to the Onikan Stadium to enjoy a Rugby day-out.

Sunday’s fixtures

10am Gosar RFC vs Panthers RFC

12noon Eco II RFC vs Lagos Dragons RFC

2pm Cowrie RFC vs Police RFC

4pm Racing RFC vs Lagos RFC

NFF, friends, associates felicitate with Sanusi at daughter’s wedding

The City of the Caliphate, Sokoto, was agog on Friday as the General Secretary of Nigeria Football Federation, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi, gave out one of his daughters, Mardiyya, in marriage.

Mardiyya formally became the wife of Abdulrahman Nata’ala Talba after a simple ceremony at the Muhammad Saad Abubakar III Mosque in the Guiwa Low Cost area of the ancient city, following Friday’s Juma’at prayers.

Hon. Isa Sadiq Achida (Commissioner for Home Affairs, Sokoto State), Dr. Isa Mohammed Sama (Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Higher Education, Sokoto State), Alhaji Usman Umar Ladan (Director of Sports, Kebbi State) Alhaji Aliyu Oroje (Chairman of JEDO Investments), Alhaji Ali Sani (Director of Sports, Federal College of Education, Kano) and businessmen Alhaji Kabir Mayaki and Alhaji Ibrahim Gobir Adiya were among those who attended the event and celebrated with the respected football administrator.

Dr. Sanusi (seated with a number of dignitaries) and members of the NFF delegation

From the ivory tower came Professor Riskuwa Shehu, Professor Abubakar Bagudu, Professor Umar Tambuwal and Professor Bibis.

Chairman of the NFF Security Committee, Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau represented the NFF President, and there was also Dr. Ahmed Tijjani Yusuf, a two –time General Secretary of Nigeria Football Federation.

Dr. Sanusi (fourth from right) with NFF Management and Staff after the wedding ceremony.

The NFF Management was well represented with Mr. David Atabo (Director of Finance), Mr. Ademola Olajire (Director of Media and Communications), Mr. Tunde Aderibigbe (Head of Protocol), Mr. Sule Bako (Assistant Director, Finance), Mr. Dayo Enebi Achor (Super Eagles’ Team Administrator), Mr. Emmanuel Adesanya (Head of Federation Cup), Dr. Christian Emeruwa (Integrity Officer) and Mallam Magaji Abdullahi (Head of Admin) alongside a dozen Members of Staff.

FALEYE: I WANT TO SCORE MORE GOALS FOR 3SC

Teenage sensation, Sunday Faleye has promised fans of 3SC more goals in the second round of the NPFL.
According to the Ajegunle born attacker, who has scored five goals and four assists in as many games for the Oluyole Warriors in his debut season in the league, he is determined to help his team claim a continental ticket at the end of the season.

” We are ready to storm the league in the second stanza and move up the ladder and possibly pick a continental ticket.

“By the grace of God, I hope to score as much as 16 goals at the end of the season. I want to repay the faith of the coaches and the management, as well as, the love shown to me by our supporters, ” Faleye enthused.

Sunday Faleye Of 3SC
photo credit: Akeem Busari

The prodigiously talented youngster who was plucked from Lagos based Freestan football club, has continued to revel in his baptismal season. He went on to described the game against Ifeanyi Ubah in Nnewi as his toughest so far in the season.

“That match was the toughest I have played for my team this season. It was a fast and tight game and also a valuable experience for me,” Faleye disclosed.

Akeem Busari

Get Into Rugby Expansion Drives World Rugby Growth In 2016

We are very pleased that Africa has shown the greatest development of the game through the Get into Rugby program. These results are due to the hard work and commitment of all the Regional Development Officers, and the high level of administration within Rugby Africa all who have collaborated extensively with World Rugby in order to ensure the programs’ success. We have always been confident that Africa has massive skills potential, which is just as important as growing the number of players involved in the game. I would like to congratulate all those involved who have achieved these results. I am certain that African rugby will continue to be up to the challenge in the future.

Abdelaziz Bougja, Rugby Africa’s chairman

Nearly two million girls and boys participated in Get Into Rugby, including 382,500 in Africa, in 2016
8.5 million men, women and children, of which 771,459 are in Africa, now playing the game worldwide
Women and girls account for more than a quarter of all global players
Thirty-nine per cent of Get Into Rugby participants in 2016 female

Close to two million (1,990,300) girls and boys in 129 nations took part in World Rugby’s mass participation programme, Get Into Rugby, in 2016, almost double the number of participants in 2015.

The success of the grassroots scheme continues to drive the growth of the sport globally, with 8.5 million men, women and children now playing the game worldwide, according to the World Rugby Year in Review 2016.

2016 was a landmark year for World Rugby, with the sport’s return to the Olympic programme at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games contributing to its huge growth and continued popularity worldwide. Get Into Rugby plays a vital role in that growth by opening up the sport to more countries and more people than ever before.

In Africa, participation in Get Into Rugby surpassed 380,000, boosted by the establishment of new wide-ranging training courses, enabling unions to autonomously deliver Get Into Rugby programmes. Rugby Africa, the regional association, marked its 30th anniversary by drawing up a new five-year strategic plan for the sport, which is now played by 771,459 people in the region. The year also saw Zimbabwe host the World Rugby U20 Trophy, while in men’s sevens South Africa won bronze at Rio 2016 and Kenya their first-ever HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Cup title, inspiring further participation and fan growth.

Ten new countries adopted the Get Into Rugby programme in 2016 – Guatemala, Morocco, Luxembourg, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Anguilla, Macau, Ethiopia and Bolivia – which globally saw more than 30,000 trained personnel deliver activities in 129 countries across 2,250 locations.

Pleasingly, 39 per cent of Get Into Rugby participants worldwide in 2016 were female, 38 per cent in the Rugby Africa region, while in nine countries, the number of girls participating outnumbers boys. This growth is set to continue under the leadership of World Rugby’s new General Manager for Women’s Rugby, Katie Sadleir, who is overseeing the development of a landmark new strategy to further boost women’s rugby.

In addition to the Get Into Rugby programme, 85 unions, supported by the six regional associations, organised over 200 events attended by more than 60,000 participants as part of World Rugby’s IMPACT Beyond Rio 2016 project, which encouraged unions to organise activities to coincide with the Olympic Games to promote rugby and attract new players and fans.

Further key growth figures from the World Rugby Year in Review 2016 report include:
8.5 million men, women and children now playing the game in World Rugby member unions – an increase of eight per cent from 2015

2.2 million women and girls accounting for more than a quarter of players in World Rugby member unions – this is an increase of 142 per cent since 2012

The addition of two new member unions (Guatemala and Slovakia) bringing the total number of affiliated nations to 121 – 103 full members and 18 associate members

300 million fans worldwide – an increase of 50 million new fans over the past 12 months thanks in part to a record-breaking Rugby World Cup 2015 and rugby’s return to the Olympic Games at Rio 2016

4.7 million new users on World Rugby sites over the course of 2016 and 900,000 new fans on World Rugby social media platforms

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “2016 was a fantastic year for World Rugby in more ways than one. Firstly, we saw rugby’s successful return to the Olympic Games with the world’s best sevens players lighting up Rio 2016 with a riveting display of passion and skill. This helped set the stage for our development programmes, Get Into Rugby and IMPACT Beyond, which successfully harnessed the momentum of the Games to deliver real engagement and significant growth.

“Rugby Africa has seen participation in Get Into Rugby surpass 380,000 in 2016, boosted by inspirational performances on the pitch, including South Africa’s men’s sevens bronze medal-winning performance at Rio 2016 and Kenya’s men clinching their first-ever HSBC World Rugby Sevens title. Thanks to new training initiatives and an exciting new strategic plan this trend is set to continue.

“Globally, with 8.5 million people playing and enjoying rugby across the world, the game continues to go from strength to strength. Get Into Rugby, with nearly two million participants in 2016, is evidence of how our vibrant, values-driven sport is reaching out and engaging new players and fans worldwide. Particularly pleasing is the significant uplift in female participation. With 39 per cent of all Get Into Rugby participants, 38 per cent in the Rugby Africa region, and 2.2 million registered female players worldwide, rugby continues to set the pace as one of the fastest growing women’s team sports in the world.”