FIVE QUESTIONS WITH KYLE SHEWFELT, MEN’S ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS AMBASSADOR FOR THE 2017 WORLDS

It was in Athens in 2004 that Kyle Shewfelt turned in one of the greatest performances in Canadian sports history with his victory on Floor Exercise, becoming the first Canadian Olympic champion in Artistic Gymnastics. This exploit, his engaging personality and commitment to the sport both on and off the field of play led the organising committee and the International Gymnastics Federation to select him as the Men’s Artistic Gymnastics Ambassador for the 2017 World Championships in Montreal.

What does it mean for you to be an Artistic Gymnastics Ambassador for the 2017 World Championships in Montreal?

“This is a great honour. I have been in love with gymnastics ever since I watched the 1991 Worlds on TV. I am delighted to play a role in these Championships and I know that they will make a big impact on future generations. Having the opportunity to see their favourite gymnastics stars competing live in person or at home on TV will inspire them immensely.”

The Olympic Stadium in Montreal

What has this sport brought to your life?

“Gymnastics is one of the most important things in my life and the sport has brought me so many powerful experiences and friendships. While I was a competitor, I loved the fire I felt inside while chasing my Olympic dream. I can still close my eyes and imagine that magical day in Athens when my Olympic dream came true.
Now, I love owning a gymnastics centre and being able to make a positive impact in my community through this avenue. I also really enjoy providing gymnastics commentary for television – I feel a huge responsibility to educate viewers and to shine a spotlight on the gymnasts and coaches who work so hard for those special moments.
Gymnastics has been a constant in my life since I was six years old and cartwheeling around the kitchen. It has now provided me an opportunity to support my family and build community and I can’t imagine my life or my future without this sport. Handstands make me happy!”

If you could relive one moment in your Gymnastics career, what would it be and why?

“My absolute favourite moment in my career was when I ran off the floor after my floor routine in Athens and hugged my coach, Kelly Manjak. It was a powerful moment because it was full of joy, a sense of relief and a feeling of achievement. We didn’t know the score or the final result, but we knew that I had delivered my BEST routine in the moment when it mattered the most. I don’t really remember being on the podium that day and getting my medal, that is all a blur, but I will never forget that feeling of gratitude and excitement I felt after I nailed the best routine of my life.”

Of all the advice you were given as a gymnast, is there one thing that has really stuck with you and made a difference for you?

“Focus on the performance, not the outcome. Gymnastics is a sport where you have no control over the external factors – you can’t control the judges, the equipment, the audience, the expectations, your fellow competitors or the final result. All you can control is your thoughts, your actions and your performance. Sometimes I had great routines and didn’t get the final result I wanted, but I was taught to always search for an inner sense of self satisfaction. My coach always said, ‘If you know that you did everything you could do to be the best you could be, then you can’t be disappointed.’ I seek excellence in everything I do and I think that being involved in gymnastics taught me this.”


Kyle Shewfelt and his coach Kelly Manjak during the floor exercise’s final at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens (GRE)

What would you tell a young child who dreams of being an Olympic Gymnastics champion?

“First, I would say make sure you surround yourself with amazing people who will support you, will protect you and will never question your audacious dream! They need to let you be the one in charge of driving the bus, but they are ready to help when you need it.
Secondly, I would say to study and emulate your idols. Watch the way they train, watch the way they compete and watch the way they perform. Try to be like them, but add your own personal style.
And thirdly, show up to training each day with a plan and measure your progress and work. The key to making big dreams a reality is staying motivated. Having evidence that your efforts and commitment is paying off will help you stay positive and focused during those hard times.

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Footie Aficionados Host 2017 Femi Ajayi Charity 5 Aside Football Tournament

Footie Aficionados a football-centric leisure group has concluded plans to host a One day event scheduled for Monday October 2, 2017 The event is organised in collaboration with Sport Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) Lagos chapter as an annual remembrance event to honour the founder of the group and positively impact the less privilege members of the society. Four teams have agreed to be part of the tournament and they are Team Footie Aficionados, Team FCMB, Team Cadbury and Team LagosSWAN.

One of the objectives of the event is to promote a healthy lifestyle amongst Participants, Networking and majorly to give back to the society. These were some of the ideals that the late founder of the Group Footie Aficionados stood for during his lifetime.

Head Of The Organising Committee Mr Femi Abioye revealed that whichever team wins the football tournament has agreed to donate the “Femi Ajayi Let’s Give” cash prize to “Heritage Homes Orphanages” as the chosen charity for this year.

Speaking Further Abioye Revealed that the games will kick off at 9:am prompt at the Legacy pitch of the National Stadium Surulere. Followed by a presentation of a cheque to the selected charity. He further called on members of the general public to come in the fun while also supporting a worthy cause.

“I would like to thank FCMB, Cadbury and last but not the least the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (Lagos Chapter) for their immense support, our plan is to make this event bigger and better next year” Abioye Concluded.

Super Eagles Are Primed For World Cup Semifinal Spot – Edeoghon

As preparations for the Super Eagles’ all important Russia 2018 World Cup qualifying match against the Chipolopolo of Zambia gathers momentum, stakeholders of Nigerian football have been expressing unbridled optimism on the chances of the Super Eagles.

Speaking in an exclusive interview in Benin city, Eromosele Edeoghon, CEO of Vuvuzela fc, was unequivocal in his belief that the Eagles are primed to break boundaries hitherto unachievable by African teams at the world cup in Russia.

Eromosele Edeoghon

“I want to state confidently that this present Super Eagles are going to break bounds and records at the world cup next year in Russia,” Edeoghon, ” said.

“This is a team brimming with unbelievable and immensely talented players. The blend of youth and experience, as well as, the hunger for success, is set to see them come good,” he added.

When asked about the chances of the team against the boisterous Zambian side, Edeoghon, who is also the owner of Vuvuzela sports and bar centre, an upscale outlet in Benin, was quick to dismiss the threats of the boastful Zambians.

“Football is played on the pitch and not with the mouth. Mind games or whatever our opponents are trying to do won’t work. The experience of the likes of Mikel Obi, Victor Moses and Ighalo will be too much for Zambia,” he expressed confidently.

By Akeem Busari

AIBA President Speaks From Lausanne For The First Time Since Positive Court Ruling

Following the Swiss Court’s ruling on Monday 25 September that confirmed Dr Ching-Kuo Wu’s leadership of the organisation and refused to recognise the so-called IMC and its demands, the AIBA President looks to draw a line under the recent confusion and move forward alongside the 202 member National Federations for the good of boxing and the AIBA Family as a whole.

In light of the Court’s decision, how do you reflect on the past two months?
I want to underline how regrettable this situation has been both for AIBA and for our 202 member National Federations who have become caught up in the so-called IMC’s political manoeuvrings. I consider it unforgiveable for members of the AIBA Executive Committee to use the Hamburg 2017 World Championships and AIBA as pawns in their play for power, and I commend the work done by the staff to ensure that the tournament was a success in spite of some EC members efforts. But beyond Hamburg, the co-called IMC have sullied everything that we have achieved over the past 12 months to put integrity, transparency and ethics at the forefront of everything we do for the AIBA Family. As such I am pleased to hear the Courts have discredited them and demanded that the individuals involved personally pay our legal costs.

The fact that the so-called IMC is basing some of their claim against AIBA on financial mis-management whilst openly colluding with the former Executive Directors Ho Kim and Karim Bouzidi – the very individuals who were in charge and made our financial situation precarious – should make it perfectly clear that this is not their main motive behind trying to discredit the current governance. The present administration has ensured greater financial transparency than ever, making available the results of the KPMG audit and putting in place a clear strategy to resolve the loan situation with the Azeri investor. Everything the so-called IMC has put out has been distorted by their own agenda.

What does the Court’s ruling mean for AIBA?

The ruling means that AIBA Executive Director, our team in Lausanne and our 202 National Federations, can now continue implementing our long-term vision for boxing. The upscaling of the recent World Championships and the level of the partners with whom we worked such as Borgward, adidas, Sportcom, IMG was clearly visible in Hamburg, and that was only made possible by following a strategy that put the AIBA Family first. That effort has also enabled us to increase revenues from future World Championship hosting fees, and our most prestigious major events for the next four years are already in place. Despite the efforts and baseless comments of the so-called IMC, we have been able to put boxing in a much healthier position over the past 12 months.

What are the next steps in the strategy to develop boxing?

We want to give even greater attention to our development projects around the world, and work closely with the AIBA Family and our 202 National Federations to repair the damage done recently by this political turnoil. It is a sad symbol of this group of Executive Committee members that they have barely contributed to deliver a single constructive plan to steer boxing’s growth through the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Cycle. When I launched the Year of Africa, its underlying mission was to engender an overall raising of standards at all levels of boxing on the continent and for it to become the benchmark for sustainable development programmes in other regions. Among the many elements that this year-long experience has revealed is that the AIBA model of Continental Confederation governance needs to be reviewed to make sure we are giving our NFs the most pro-active framework possible for them to work within. Several NFs have expressed their dissatisfaction at the way their Confederations are run and suggested that they are not receiving the support they require. AIBA must move forward in harmony with the different demands and best interests of all its National Federations, and I will be ensuring that is the case as we review our framework and our governance in the future.

Ching-Kuo Wu AIBA President

How do recent events affect the governance relationship between AIBA and the EC?

This has become a very difficult and important question. An Executive body is essential to the smooth running of any organisation, but it must pull in the same direction and represent the best interests of our Association. Instead, the AIBA Executive Committee has been openly acting against AIBA. Nine months ago, the EC expressed their satisfaction when they were shown the finances and the KPMG audit, signing a letter of support for my Presidency. What in fact they have done is share this confidential information with outside parties and formed a series of groundless criticisms of the current governance.

I think that the Swiss Court has made that clear too in its decision this week. There is no issue with the EC as an entity, but we need to ensure the members work for their sport rather than themselves. For too long now, certain members have sat back and watched boxing’s success, not been instrumental in it. At the same time, the so-called IMC was the result of individuals’ designs on taking over the Association. If they really believe that any short-term change now would not lead to another power struggle among egos and vested interests in a year’s time, then they will be very disappointed and, most regrettably of all, boxing and all our stakeholders will only suffer even further.

Falconets Off To Dar es Salaam, Promise Victory

Nigeria’s U20 women football team Falconets, will go all out for victory in Sunday’s 2018 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup qualifying first round, second leg match against their Tanzanian counterparts in Dar es Salaam.

A contingent of 18 players and eight technical and backroom staff, led by NFF Executive Committee member, Babagana Kalli, departed from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on Thursday aboard an Ethiopian Airline flight. They are scheduled to connect Dar es Salaam from Addis Ababa in the early hours of Friday.

A goal by wing back Lilian Tule and a brace from Rasheedat Ajibade saw the Falconets winning the first leg 3-0 at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium penultimate weekend – comfortable cushion for the two –time World Cup silver medallists to approach the return leg with confidence.

Coach Chris Danjuma told thenff.com before departure from Abuja: “We won the first leg 3-0 but that does not mean we will rest on our oars. We should have won more comfortably but threw away a number of chances.

“The truth is we have to be more clinical in front of goal. After the first leg, we have worked on some areas that we realized needed serious attention, and I have confidence that we will get a handsome result in Dar es Salaam.

LMC Partners MEDICAID in Fight Against Cancer

A Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), Medicaid Cancer Foundation on Tuesday has enlisted the support of the League Management Company (LMC) in their campaign to eliminate Cancer and assist patients.

Founder of Medicaid and wife of Kebbi State Governor, Dr. Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu, said during a courtesy visit to the LMC Office in Abuja that Medicaid is soliciting technical assistance from the league body to organize a charity tournament to raise awareness for the fight against cancer. She and her entourage were received by the LMC team led by the Chairman, Shehu Dikko

She explained that Medicaid elected to partner the LMC in recognition of the power of that football as a platform that can drive the message on Cancer prevention and cure to every part of the country.

“We want to organise a football tournament in Abuja on Saturday, 21st October 2017, and our target is to use football which enjoys mass appeal cutting across tribe, gender and age to help spread the message about cancer and facilitate our reach to near and remote places,” Shinkafi-Bagudu said.

In his response to the visitors, Dikko offered the assurance of technical and human support to the NGO for a successful organization of the tournament consistent with its corporate social responsibility objectives of supporting humanitarian efforts and positive engagement with the community.

LMC Chairman, Shehu Dikko and Founder of Medicaids Cancer Foundation, Dr. Zainab Shinkafi-Bagudu during her visit to the LMC Office.

“We see this as our corporate social responsibility to support members of the community with health challenges and we hope to drive this campaign with Her Excellency. We will work with your organization to ensure that all goes well and the message on the fight against cancer is well spread,” Dikko said.

The LMC has through the VAT Wonder Goal award for players in the just concluded season offered financial supports to 15 Charity organizations nominated by players who won the award. This the league did to promote club and community engagement and also assist the Charity homes.

The LMC has also through its media platforms and match venue communications consistently campaigned for the unity of the country and for awareness on AIDS and HIV scourge

ITTF Conducts Successful 2018 World Table Tennis Championships Site Inspection

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has concluded a site inspection for the Liebherr 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships to be held in Halmstad, Sweden from 29 April to 6 May 2018.

The ITTF inspection party led by ITTF Deputy President Khalil AL-MOHANNADI and the ITTF CEO Steve DAINTON, toured all the facilities that will be used for 54th World Table Tennis Championships in the table tennis heartland of Sweden.

After visiting the venue together with the Executive Committee, ITTF Deputy President Khalil AL-MOHANNADI stated: “We were pleased and impressed with the progress the organizing committee is making, and we strongly believe that the event will be able to build on the momentum of the 2017 edition to make new records. The venue and facilities are great and we are excited to see the hosts put their Swedish twist on the biggest table tennis event on earth.”

The main hall, where the World Champions will be crowned, will have three tables, which will all be produced live for ITTF’s global TV rights holders over the eight-day event with special innovations to be announced soon. An elaborate sports presentation plan will ensure that the tens of thousands of fans expected to flock in to the Halmstad Arena will be treated to a table tennis show that they will never forget.

The ITTF Executive Committee who met prior to the inspection.

ITTF CEO Steve Dainton added: “We feel very relaxed and comfortable after our visit to Halmstad, not only due to the awesome hospitality the locals have shown us, but mainly due to the plans and preparations presented to us for next year’s Liebherr 2018 World Team Table Tennis Championships. There is a high-level detail and creativity on the plans and we are extremely confident that the event will be a great event. That said, the last months leading to the event are crucial and there is still a lot of work to be done. Limited tickets and hotels will mean that it will be important for fans to get their hands on the tickets when tickets are released in November, so they can be a part of the World Championships.”

The 2018 edition of the World Team Table Tennis Championships will consist of 72 teams, who will qualify through their continental championships. The top 24 teams will make up the Championship Division which will battle to be World Team Champions.

Early bird tickets go on sale on 1 November 2017, head over to http://wttc2018halmstad.com/ to pre-register your interest so you don’t miss out!