ITTF Decides on Sanctions for Chinese Trio for China Open Forfeits

During the Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Platinum China Open held in Chengdu, China in June 2017, the top three table tennis players in the world: MA Long, FAN Zhendong and XU Xin, did not turn up for their round of 16 matches, subsequently forfeiting their matches.

The trio did not provide the ITTF or the organizing committee any immediate reason why they did not turn up for their matches. This behaviour meant the ITTF was required to set up a disciplinary panel appointed by the ITTF Executive Committee to investigate the incident and determine appropriate sanction.

The disciplinary panel reviewed all the evidence at hand, including asking for three players for an official statement which was received, as well as taking into account the public statements made by the three players, and the Chinese Table Tennis Association (CTTA) regarding the issue.

After reviewing all the evidence, the Disciplinary Panel determined that the actions of the three players breached section 3.5.3 of the ITTF Rule book relating to Good Presentation, more specifically clause 3.5.3.1.1, which states: ‘Players have to do their upmost to win a match and shall not withdraw except for reasons of illness or injury’.

Therefore, the Disciplinary Panel has determined that the behaviour of the three players represents a breach of section 3.5.3 of Good Presentation and according to section 3.5.3.4, the Disciplinary Panel is responsible to determine the players sanction.

The Disciplinary Panel decided that due to the three players let down the global fans at the China Open due to their actions, and damaged the reputation of the ITTF, that a one month suspension would have been justified.

China’s Ma Long, Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin will be fined US$20,000 each for forfeiting their match at the 2017 ITTF World Tour Platinum China Open in June.

However due to the players’ explanations, both their own and CTTA’s assurances that such behaviour will not be repeated, the three players will not receive any suspension, and will be fined US$20,000 each for breaching section of 3.5.3 of ITTF rules.

The decision of the disciplinary panel is effective immediately (31 October 2017) due to the players have not appealed the decision, which is their constitutional right and have accepted their punishment.

The ITTF is looking forward to welcoming MA Long, FAN Zhendong and XU Xin back to the ITTF World Tour and for the three icons of the sport to be role models for the millions of table tennis players across the world.

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ITTF Challenge: Omotayo Leads Nigeria’s Contingent at Belgium Open

Italy-based Olajide Omotayo will lead two other Nigerians to the 2017 ITTF Challenge Belgium Open which serves today Tuesday October 31st.

Former international, Kazeem Nosiru and Dotun Aiyelumo will also begin their campaigns in the group stage of the men’s singles of the tournament.

Omotayo has been drawn in Group two alongside Chinese Taipei’s SUN Chia-Hung and Germany’s HOHMEIER Nils.

Nosiru will battle Austria’s CHEN Alexander and Iran’s WAHID Habibie in group 24 while Aiyelumo will slug it out with Russia’s IVONIN Denis and Netherlands’ OOSTWOUDER Ewout in group 37.

The top player in each group is expected to advance to the knockout stage of the men’s singles. Other African teams on duty are Algeria and Egypt.

Olajide Omotayo at the World table tennis championships in Dusseldorf. 29 May 6 june 2017.

In the men’s doubles, Omotayo will partner Romania’s CAZACU Alexandru, while Nosiru and Aiyelumo will team up as well from the preliminary round of the event.

Portugal’s Tiago Apolonia is the top seed followed by Germany’s Ricardo Walther and Sharath Kamal Achanta, also from India. In 2010 Tiago Apolonia won in Austria, Sharath Kamal Achanta in Egypt; four years later Ricardo Walther succeeded in Croatia.

Rohr Calls Mikel, Musa, 22 Others For Algeria, Argentina

Captain Mikel John Obi, forward Ahmed Musa and midfielder Ogenyi Onazi top the list of 24 players that Super Eagles’ Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr has invited for next week’s 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying match away to Algeria, and the prestige friendly with Argentina in Russia four days later.

Goalkeepers Ikechukwu Ezenwa and Daniel Akpeyi also made the cut, as well as defenders Abdullahi Shehu, Leon Balogun and William Ekong, midfielders Wilfred Ndidi and Oghenekaro Etebo and forwards Kelechi Iheanacho, Alex Iwobi and Odion Ighalo.

Super Eagles Technical Adviser Gernot Rohr
photo credit: @TheNFF

There is a first call for impressive Deportivo La Coruna of Spain safe hands Francis Uzoho, as well as former U17 World Cup winner Chidiebere Nwakali. Russia-based Brian Idowu has been placed on standby only for the friendly with Argentina.

2013 AFCON winner Kenneth Omeruo is on standby for both matches, alongside former junior international Alhassan Ibrahim, who now plays in Austria.

All invited players are expected to arrive in a camp in Morocco on Monday, 6th November, before the delegation flies to Constantine on Thursday, 9th November.

On Saturday, 11th November, a 45–seater chartered aircraft will fly the Super Eagles from Constantine to Krasnodar, the Russian city that will host the international friendly against Argentina on Tuesday, 14th November.

Super Eagles

THE FULL LIST

Goalkeepers: Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (FC IfeanyiUbah); Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna, Spain)

Defenders: William Ekong (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Abdullahi Shehu (Anorthosis Famagusta, Cyprus); Tyronne Ebuehi (ADO Den Haag, The Netherlands); Leon Balogun (FSV Mainz 05, Germany); Uche Agbo (Standard Liege, Belgium); Chidozie Awaziem (Nantes FC, France); Olaoluwa Aina (Hull City, England)

Midfielders: Mikel John Obi (Tianjin Teda, China); Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor FC, Turkey); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (CD Feirense, Portugal); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel); Mikel Agu (Bursaspor FC, Turkey); Chidiebere Nwakali (Sogndal FC, Norway)

Forwards: Ahmed Musa (Leicester City, England); Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Moses Simon (KAA Gent, Belgium); Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England); Odion Ighalo (Chang Chun-Yatai, China); Henry Onyekuru (RSC Anderlecht, Belgium); Anthony Nwakaeme (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel)

STANDBY: Kenneth Omeruo (Kasimpasa FC, Turkey); Alhassan Ibrahim (FK Austria Wien, Austria); Brian Idowu (FC Amkar Perm, Russia)

Zhu Yuling Claims Career First ITTF Women’s World Cup Title in Markham

China’s ZHU Yuling is the newly crowned Champion of the Uncle Pop 2017 ITTF Women’s World Cup presented by Polar Naturals held in Markham, Canada from 27 – 29 October 2017.

The top seed claimed her career first ITTF Women’s World Cup title in a grueling 7-games thriller, and in turn stopping her teammate LIU Shiwen’s hope of a record fifth title.

In the nail biting final that thrilled the capacity crowd at the Markham Pan Am Centre, ZHU had to recover from 0-2 down, and a controversial edge ball that costed her a crucial fifth game 10-12 against LIU. Determined for the title, the 22-year-old was on all pumped to against her more experienced colleague, and eventually winning the last two games to take the match 4-3 (11-13, 8-11, 11-7, 11-8, 10-12, 11-9, 12-10) & win the prestigious title.

“I’m still very nervous now even after winning!” shared ZHU after her epic victory. “In the match, because I was too nervous, I made some errors. Now I’m really happy to win the title!”

It’s double joy for the newly crowned Champions, she has now also earned enough world ranking points to overtake reigning World Champion DING Ning (CHN) to become the next World Number One in the next month’s ITTF World Rankings.

China’s Zhu Ying to become the new world number one next month after her epic World Cup victory

Finalists in Philadelphia last year, defending champion Miu HIRANO (JPN) and CHENG I-Ching (TPE) had to fight for the bronze medal after being knocked out of the race for Gold by LIU & ZHU respectively in the semifinals.

It was CHENG who took the victory in hand and avenged for the 2016 loss to HIRANO, winning 4-2 (9-11, 11-5, 9-11, 11-9, 11-5, 11-8) to take home the bronze medal.

With the conclusion of the Uncle Pop 2017 ITTF Women’s World Cup presented by Polar Naturals, the world’s best athletes will head off to Magdeburg, Germany for the upcoming Seamaster 2017 ITTF World Tour Platinum German Open.

ISSF World Cup Final in New Delhi closes on a high…

ISSF World Cup Final in New Delhi closes on a high note, as Spain’s Fernandez sets a new Trap Men record
The last competition of the 2017 ISSF Season folded at the Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range: Italy claimed the top position on the final medal table, followed by the People’s Republic of China and France. Spotlights on the international shooting sport scene will turn back on in March 2018.

Three medal events took place on the closing day of the 2017 ISSF World Cup Final, the last competition of the season: the men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol, the men’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions and the men’s Trap.

25m Rapid Fire Pistol Men

Ten years after participating in his first ISSF World Cup Final, and capping his seventh start in this competition in New Delhi (IND), United States’ Keith Sanderson finally climbed atop the podium, claiming his first ISSF crystal globe in the 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Men Gold.

Carrying the second highest qualification score, 42-year-old Sanderson shot consistently through the whole final match, nailing two perfect 5-hit series and taking the lead at the end of the fifth one, when he placed 1st alongside his Korean rival Song. Firing two consecutive 4-hit series, then, the experienced American finally managed to put some distance between himself and his closest opponent, France’s 26-year-old Clement Bessaguet, sealing the victory with 3 hits in the final one.

Sanderson’s finished with 33 hits, only one away from the current World Record, while after nailing the best qualification score, Bessaguet took Silver with 29.

Competing in his first career World Cup Final, Republic of Korea’s 27-year-old Song Jong Ho took Bronze with 24 hits.

Azerbaijan’s Ruslan Lunev took 4th place after losing a shoot-off against Song, finishing with 22 hits. Previously, the 28-year-old Azerbaijani shooter survived another tie-breaking shoot-off to avoid elimination in 5th place, besting Lao Jiajie of the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese 27-year-old concluded his final with 17 hits.

Rio 2016 Olympic Gold medalist and World Cup Final title holder Christian Reitz of Germany was the first to leave the match, finishing 6th with 12 hits.

50m Rifle 3 Positions Men

The 50m Rifle 3 Positions Men final sealed the Rifle/Pistol schedule at the ISSF World Cup Final in New Delhi, awarding Rio 2016 Silver medalist Alexis Raynaud of France with his first ISSF crystal globe.

The 23-year-old led the table for the whole final match, but failed to build a comfortable lead and distance his closes opponents: Czech Republic’s Istvan Peni and Hungary’s Istvan Peni.

Inching closer to the Elimination phase, Raynaud remained focused and extended the gap to 1.8-point at the end of the second standing series. There, the French shot four consistent shot, maintaining his lead and eventually capping the match with a fantastic 10.8 on his 45th and final one.

The tight battle between 18-year-old Nepejchal and 20-year-old Peni finally crowned the Czech athlete, who took Silver with 458.5 points, while the Hungarian followed his younger rival in 3rd place with 449.1, adding a Bronze to the men’s 10m Air Rifle Gold he won four days earlier.

Placed just outside of the medal positions, Croatian 29-year-old Petar Gorsa took 4th place with 439.2 points, while Poland’s Tomasz Bartnik left after shot number 42 and finished 5th in his first World Cup Final participation, scoring 428.0 points.

The Polish 27-year-old preceded 45-year-old experienced Serbian shooter Stevan Pletikosic, who finished in 6th place and scored 414.3 points.

Two Chinese shooters left the match at the 40th-shot mark: the 2017 Junior World Champion Liu Yukun took 8th place with 404.3 points, while Hui Zicheng finishing in 7th with 405.6.

Alberto Fernandez

Trap Men

A tremendous shooting performance capped off the 2017 ISSF World Cup Final, as Trap Men shooter Alberto Fernandez of Spain set a new World Record on his way to the ISSF crystal globe.

The Spanish 34-year-old hit 48 of his 50 targets, dominating his rivals with great self-confidence and only missing clay number 32 and number 50. Once the match was over, Fernandez was immediately greeted by his girlfriend Beatriz Martinez, also a Trap shooter, who previously won the ISSF World Cup Final title in the Trap Mixed Team event.

With only ten targets left to hit, Fernandez defended himself from the potential comeback of Italy’s 31-year-old Daniele Resca, who also shot greatly and pocketed the Silver medal with 46 hits, missing the chance to add another title to the World Championship Gold he won in Moscow (RUS) last month.

The Bronze medal was awarded to Croatia’s Giovanni Cernogoraz: the Croatian 34-year-old, Olympic Gold medalist at London 2012, pocketed the Bronze with 37 crushed targets out of 40.

33-year-old Antonio Bailon of Spain, holder of the previous World Record, concluded his match at the foot of the podium, placing in 4th position with 31 hits out of 35 clays.

Bailon was followed by the second Italian finalist, 47-year-old and four-time Olympic medalist Giovanni Pellielo, who took 5th place with 26 target hits out of 30, and by British 30-year-old Aaron Heading, who was the first shooter the leave the match and placed 6th with 22 hits out of 25 targets.

Medals and records

Five new World Records were set during the competition:

– Riccardo Filippelli of Italy and Ben Llewellin of Great Britain both marked 59 hits in the Skeet Men final;
– Tomoyuki Matsuda of Japan scored 241.8 points in the 10m Air Pistol Men final;
– Hu Binyuan of the People’s Republic of China hit 79 clays in the Double Trap Men event;
– Torben Grimmel of Denmark scored 250.6 points in the 50m Rifle Prone Men final;
– Alberto Fernandez crushed 48 of his 50 targets in the Trap Men event.

Diana Bacosi and Kimberly Rhode also set an Equaled World Record in the Skeet Women final by hitting 56 out of 60 targets.

Among junior shooters, Pavlo Korostylov of Ukraine equaled the World Record in the 10m Air Pistol Men event with 241.1 points, while Istvan Peni of Hungary equaled the 10m Air Rifle Men one by scoring 249.8 points.

Sadeghian Armina of the Islamic Republic of Iran set a new Junior Qualification World Record in the 10m Air Rifle Women event with 422.3 points, and finally Istvan Peni matched the 50m Rifle 3 Positions Men World Record with 1185 points.

At the end of a pretty balanced competition, the final medal table was ruled by Italy with six total medals: 2 Golds, 3 Silvers and 1 Bronze, all won in the Shotgun discipline. The People’s Republic of China followed in 2nd with two Golds, two Silvers and five Bronzes, while France took 3rd place with two Golds and two Silvers.

Serbia, Spain and the United States of America also won two Gold medals apiece, while Denmark, India, Germany, Hungary, Japan and Republic of Korea took one each.

The 2018 ISSF Season will resume on March 2nd, 2018 in Guadalajara (MEX) for the first stage of the 2018 ISSF World Cup Series.

Amosun Congratulates Anthony Joshua

Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun has congratulated boxing superstar, Anthony Joshua, for successfully defending his IBF Heavyweight World title, by defeating Carlos Takam in the 10th round at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

The governor, in a statement signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Otunba Dayo Adeneye, described the feat by Joshua, an indigene of Ogun State, as a pride to the state and the nation as a whole.

“His strings of success are simply a manifestation of the gene of a true son of Ogun State, who are born to be victorious and do exploits in all fields of human endeavour.

“It also demonstrates the ‘Ogun Standard’, which is the mantra of the new Ogun State, noted for excellence” he added.

Anthony Joshua
By Bill (Flickr: Anthony Joshua) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The governor said the development can also be seen from the stand point of the doggedness and determination of an average Nigerian.

While wishing the boxer luck in his future encounters, Amosun admonished Nigerian youths to unearth their untapped skills, and once again put Nigeria in top ranking in sports worldwide.

Samurai Retains Lagos Rugby 7s Title

The 8th edition of the Lagos Independence Rugby 7s came to an exciting end Sunday at the Lagos Polo club with Samurai Barracudas beating Cowrie RFC of Lagos 26-0 to win the coveted title for the second consecutive time.
The two day event which featured 12 teams draw from different parts of Nigeria, as well as South Africa and United Kingdom, expectedly attracted a large crowd of rugby enthusiasts, who were thoroughly thrilled.

In some of the classification matches played earlier, Sabongari RFC beat Warri Wolves 14-0, to win the Bowl final and the cash prize of one hundred thousand naira; Delta Force RFC defeated Nasarawa RFC 15-12 to win the Plate, as well as, a cash prize of N150, 000.

In the exhibition games, Edo Women defeated Lagos 10-5; and Barewa Academy defeated Edo Boys 15-12.

The impressive crowd were made to salivate for the biggest game of the event, as the veterans of the game from Nigeria thumped their South African counterparts.

In the championship match, Cowrie RFC of Lagos started like a house on fire. Taking the game to their more illustrious opponents. However, the more experienced Samurais thwarted these onslaughts and went on to unleash its venoms with two fast tries in the first stanza.

Samurai Barracudas, a team of top class players drawn from Kenya, Portugal, Nigeria, South Africa and the United Kingdom, did not take their feet off the pedals as it added two more tries, to completely take the winds off the sails of Cowrie RFC, and thus, going home with the coveted trophy, as well as, the sum of three hundred and fifty thousand naira. While the valiant finalists, Cowrie RFC, received the sum of two hundred thousand naira.

Speaking during the event, President of the Nigeria Rugby Football Federation, Kelechukwu Mbagwu, expressed his satisfaction on the improved standard and quality of the games at this year’s championship.

He went on state that the future of the game in Nigeria remain bright. Adding that the NRFF would continue to explore all avenues to popularise the game, as well as, making it youth friendly.

Azeez Ladipo, who is captain of the national team, the Black Stallions, maintained that the final match result is not an indictment on the standard of the game in the country. As he described it as a lesson which would put Nigerian players in a better stead.

On his part, Leal Pedro, captain of Samurai Barracudas who was declared the MVP of the championship, enthused that Nigerian rugby players are gifted enough to rub shoulders with the best in the game.

By Akeem Busari