ACCESS BANK LAGOS CITY MARATHON: Gold and Silver Label Runners To Sign Autograph at Marathon Expo

The 2018 Access Bank Lagos City Marathon will not just be about educating citizens about wellness and healthy living, there will also be lecture, seminar, entertainment and opportunity to interact with world-class marathoners.

The world-class marathoners will be at the Expo to pick up their race kits, which includes a running bib, timing tag, t-shirt, bag and other materials.

Already many gold and silver label marathoners have signed for the 2018 marathon and they have expressed their willingness to be part of the Expo to sign autographs for their fans and chat about marathon and road race running with marathon aficionados.

Top on the list of IAAF gold label runners that have signed for the 2018 Access Bank Lagos City Marathon is Matebo Levy with personal best of 2.05.16.

Kenyan duo Julius Kiplimo Maisei with a personal of 2.0813 and Patrick Kipyegon with 2.08.07, also an IAAF gold label runner will also be in Lagos for the marathon and be part of the lead-up activities including the expo.

The women are not left out as familiar faces in the Nigeria marathon family Alice Timbli 2.25.03 and Georgina Jepkirui Rono 2.21.39 are all in the mix.

The 2018 Marathon Expo is expected to attract thousands of tourists and enthusiasts from different parts of the world; the event is free to the public.

Apart from the expo, Yussuf Alli General Manager Access Bank Lagos City Marathon revealed so many things are being done differently to ensure that the 2018 marathons will be at par with the world best.

“There will be several training for all categories of staff including the media, medical, and technical officials. Our aim remains an IAAF Gold Label before our fifth edition and focused on getting and all hands are on the deck to ensure that we achieve the set goal and target’’. Said Alli.

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China Avenges 2016 Defeats to Reclaim ITTF World Junior Championships Team Titles

China once again proves itself as a mighty table tennis powerhouse, defeating Japan to sweep both the Boys’ and Girls’ team titles at the 2017 World Junior Table Tennis Championships in Riva del Garda, Italy on 29 November 2017.

After having their worst World Junior Championships results in in history in 2016, winning only one out of the seven titles available, China was determined to reclaim the titles that they lost in Cape Town, South Africa. The Chinese team has sent out its strongest junior team to Riva del Garda, boasting 2014 & 2015 World Junior Champion WANG Manyu, world number nine in the world on the senior ranking SUN Yingsha in the girls’ team, as well as 2014 and 2015 World Junior Team Champions XUE Fei and WANG Chuqin on the boys’ team.

In a rematch of the 2016 World Junior Championships Girls’ Team event between China and Japan, the Chinese team avenged their 2016 loss to Japan with a 3-1 victory to take the crown.

Top seeded SUN Yingsha (CHN) and WANG Manyu (CHN) proved too strong for Miyu KATO (JPN) and Miyuu KIHARA (JPN), defeating their opponents both 3-1 to give China a 2-0 lead.

Despite Miyu NAGASAKI (JPN)’s tough fight to upset 2016 World Junior Champion SHI Xunyao (CHN) to bring the score to 2-1, Japan was unable to turn the tides in the favor, as WANG ended their hopes with a convincing 3-0 () victory over KATO.

“We are very happy to win the final, the title is back to its original owner, and we have reclaimed the crown,” stated WANG after the sealing the final victory for the Chinese team. “Japan did gave us a lot of difficulties during today’s match. After Shi Xunyao lost the third match, I had to quickly adjust myself to prepare for the next match and not be affected by her defeat. Regardless what the final score is, it feels good to have the final victory.”

The World Junior Team Championships are heading back to China!

As with the case of the Girls’ Team event, Japan was unable to defend their hard earned title from Cape Town, losing 0-3 to the China in the Boys’ Team final showdown.

The Chinese trio of XUE Fei, WANG Chuqin and XU Haidong gave the Japanese line up of Yuto KIZUKURI, Yuta TANAKA and Masaki TAKAMI no chance to fight back in the final, taking the crown 3-0 and seal the deal.

WANG Chuqin shared after their spic vitour “We are very happy to win the title back, it’s like a mission completed for us. We came with the goal to win, especially for Xue Fei and myself, so we do feel the pressure to play well to take the title.”

With the Team titles determined, all eyes turn to the singles and doubles events that started tomorrow, 30 November.

Africa – 2019 Rugby World Cup: Three African Teams Could Represent Africa During The 2019 Rugby World Cup

Africa – 2019 Rugby World Cup: Three African teams could represent Africa during the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan

The winner of the 2018 Rugby Africa Gold Cup automatically qualifies for the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Across 6 countries in 15 two-legged matches, the 2018 Rugby Africa Gold Cup promises 7 days of intense matches pitting Africa’s top six men’s rugby union nations against each other between 16 June and 18 August 2018. The stakes are particularly high this year, since the 2018 African champion will automatically qualify for the 2019 World Cup in Japan (https://www.RugbyWorldCup.com), though the runner-up will participate in a last chance bracket tournament.

A total of three teams will thus have the opportunity to bear the colours of Africa in the 2019 Rugby World Cup, since South Africa has already qualified.

“The fixtures for the 2018 Rugby Africa Gold Cup have been scheduled in consultation with the participating federations and our media partner, Kwese Sports. Numerous factors had to be considered for such a busy sporting period, such as the dates of international windows for releasing club players to their national teams and particularly the Rugby World Cup Sevens, which is scheduled to be held between 20 and 22 July. This explains the pause between 7 July and 4 August”, stated Guédel N’Diaye, Rugby Afrique Competition Committee Director (www.RugbyAfrique.com).

“The rules remain the same for the 2017 season, in that the top three teams will play three home matches and two away matches, while the teams ranked fourth through sixth will travel three times and only host two home matches”, specified Guédel N’Diaye.

The final standings at the end of the 2017 season is as follows:

Namibia
Kenya
Uganda
Tunisia
Zimbabwe
Morocco (promoted from the Rugby Africa Silver Cup)
An enhanced level of play with primetime visibility
:

“The 2017 Rugby Africa Gold Cup was a genuine success for African rugby in general”, exclaimed Rugby Africa President Abdelaziz Bougja. “The increased playing time for our flagship competition, with the number of matches going from 6 in 2015 to 15 this year, has been a catalyst for the actual pitch performance of Africa’s best rugby nations. We have been treated to amazing and often close-scoring matches. And make no mistake about it, fans are showing up at the stadiums and also tuning in to live broadcasts of all the matches by our Pan-African media partner Kwese Sports or via Facebook”.

The Rugby Africa Gold Cup rankings follow a points system (win, tie, loss and bonus points) with other criteria in case of two or three-way ties. The winner is in any case the team who scores the most at the end of the tournament. There is no final match to determine the champion, so the suspense builds regarding the final ranking of all the teams until the final second of the last match.

While Namibia has qualified for the last five Rugby World Cups, competition will certainly be harsh, as five other countries have serious designs for the title of African Champion. The 2018 Rugby Africa Gold Cup is thus promising to showcase top quality rugby that is engaging and full of excitement.

Over the past decade, rugby’s popularity and television viewing figures have grown steadily in Africa. The Rugby World Cup is the third most popular sporting event in the world behind the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup. Over four billion people around the world will watch these matches on television and see how two, and perhaps even three African teams fare.

“As Official Partner of Rugby Africa, we will do our best to ensure that all Africans know that 2018 will be the year in which the best African teams will face off to earn the privilege to represent Africa at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the world’s third largest sporting event”, stated Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, founder and CEO of the APO Group, Official Partner of Rugby Africa.

Download the schedule of the 2018 Rugby Africa Gold Cup: http://APO.af/yNom3y

WORLD AQUATIC FAMILY GATHERS IN CHINA FOR FINA GALA 2017

The FINA World Aquatics Gala “Soiree des Etoiles,” the fourth edition of its kind, is set to celebrate the best athletes and coaches of 2017 in Sanya, South China’s Hainan Province, on Saturday December 2.

In addition to the biggest FINA Stars, several of the most outstanding Chinese athletes in aquatic sports will gather at the Gala, such as Olympic and World champion Sun Yang, Olympic medallist Fu Yuanhui, synchronised swimmers sisters Jiang Wenwen/Jiang Tingting, and former Olympic and World champions including Tian Liang, Xiong Ni, Guo Jingjing and Gao Ming, and many others.

The Gala will award 13 male and female athletes as well as celebrate 14 coaches who have played a crucial role in their athletes’ success in 2017.

Two Masters athletes will also be distinguished for their outstanding commitment.

Finally, the FINA Media Award of 2017 will be attributed.

You can watch the Gala and discover the winners LIVE on FINAtv. Start your free trial HERE

Winners biographies and interviews will be available on FINA website (homepage) as soon as they are announced.

The FINA World Aquatics Gala was first held in Doha (QAT), before the start of the 12th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m). The following edition was organised in Budapest (HUN) on January 31, 2016 and the 2016 awardees were known in Windsor (CAN) on December 4, 2016, a couple of days before the start of the 13th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m).

FINA

Taekwondo: 150 Taekwondists Set For Korean Ambassadors Cup

150 athletes are expected to storm Abuja this weekend to compete in the annual Korean Ambassador’s Cup scheduled to hold on 1 and 2 December 2017 at the National Stadium Package B Abuja.

The event, which is organized by the Nigeria Taekwondo Federation and sponsored by the Republic of Korea Embassy, has a total of 150 athletes from three countries, 18 Nigerian States, 26 Clubs and the Para Military confirmed, who will be competing the Olympic categories of Male -58kg, -68kg, -80kg and +80kg as well as Female -49kg, -57kg, -67kg, and +67kg

Teams confirmed include the National Taekwondo Teams of Cameroon, Niger Republic, and Republic of Chad. Others include athletes from Nasarawa, Delta, Kebbi, Plateau, Niger, Taraba, Ondo, Bayelsa, Anambra, Lagos, Kano, Zamfara, Borno, Abia, Yobe, Cross River, NSCDC, A.B.U Zaria and some private taekwondo clubs.

Speaking on the readiness to host the event, Chairman of the Technical Committee, Alhaji Sani Lawal.

“Our committees – events committee and referee committee – have been working tireless over the past few weeks to ensure we have a great event. We are more than ready to welcome our practitioners and those from other countries to Abuja.”

For the Technical Director, 3-time Olympian Chika Chukwumerije, the aim is to start scouting for and exposing the athletes that would represent the country.

“I am primarily interested in seeing our best athletes right now and making notes. We want to build a formidable national team and we need to know our current arsenal to make a right assessment on the areas we need to work on. Having seen the quality teams registered by Niger Republic and Cameroon especially, I am looking forward to see how our Nigerian teams will rise up to the occasion”

The Honourable Minister of Sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung, is expected to be the guest of honour at the closing ceremony on 2nd Dec which will also have the Ambassador of South Korea in attendance.

The teams are expected to stay back to compete in the first ever Nigeria Taekwondo Open Championships, holding 9 – 11 December 2017.

Nigeria To Be Fully Integrated Into FIFA Connect Next Month

The Nigeria Football Federation will be fully integrated into the FIFA Connect system by the end of this year, the country’s football–governing body has announced.

FIFA Connect is the centralised portal for the registration of football players and other stakeholders. Once fully integrated, it means that registration of all players and other stakeholders in Nigerian Football will be done by the NFF.

“Players from the age of 10, in schools, football academies, amateur and professionals are all eligible to be registered by the NFF. The platform will accommodate football referees and coaches as well and thus, we will have a data base of these football officials,” Nasiru Jibril, NFF’s Club Licensing Officer, told thenff.com.

Jibril, who is a former Nigerian international, explained further: “Registration is not limited to players in established Clubs only, as players in schools (Primary and Secondary Schools) can all be registered by their schools and grassroots Clubs on the FIFA Connect.

“State Football Associations and Regional bodies will be fully involved in the registration exercise since all Clubs and other Football Stakeholders are domiciled in their areas of operation. This way, we can keep track of players and officials’ history and progression, no matter where they go, thus eliminating age falsification.”

Last year, NFF 2nd Vice President/LMC chairman Shehu Dikko, LMC COO Salihu Abubakar, Jibril and NFF’s Legal Officer Okey Obi attended a workshop at the Home of FIFA in Zurich, moderated by the Head of the FIFA TMS Compliance. Nigeria has also paid for the DTMS tool that works, facilitates and simplifies the process of players’ registration and record –keeping. A seminar on the Domestic Transfer Matching System has taken place in Abuja involving all the relevant officials and moderated by FIFA officers.

Winners Emerge at LBA End-of-Season Ceremony

The League Bloggers Awards (LBA) end-of-season ceremony, on Tuesday, produced winners in 13 categories that covered the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), the Nigeria National League (NNL)
and the Nigeria Women’s Premier League (NWPL).

Ten players, one club and one coach were named winners in the different categories during the award night at the Sheraton Hotel in Lagos though one of the categories – the NPFL Highest Goalscorer award
– had long been decided.

Last season’s top scorer in the NPFL, Anthony Okpotu of Lobi Stars with 19 goals, added the LBA Player of the Season to the Highest Goalscorer award to cap an eventful night.

Plateau United winger Peter Eneji was named Best New Player in the NPFL ahead of four other shortlists – Chinedu Udechukwu of Katsina United, Destiny Ashadi of Katsina United, Oche Salefu of Remo Stars
and Wasiu Alalade of ABS FC.

MFM FC’s Benin Republic star Giscard Tchatto claimed the Best Foreign Player, also in the top division. He got the award ahead of Kodjovi Dadzie of Akwa United, Fatau Dauda of Enyimba and FC Ifeanyiubah
goalkeeper Idrissa Bamba.

Nasarawa United goalkeeper Suraj Ayeleso beat the trio of Akwa United’s Olorunleke Ojo, Mustapha Aliko of Niger Tornadoes and Dele Ajiboye of Plateau United to emerge Best NPFL Goalkeeper.

Daniel Itodo and Ikechukwu Ibenegbu were named Best NPFL Defender and Best NPFL Midfielder respectively.

In the two new categories, FC Robo’s Rasheedat Ajibade won the NWPL Player of the Season while Kwara United striker Michael Ohanu emerged the NNL Player of the Sason.

Sikiru Olatunbosun of MFM FC won the Goal of the Season in the NPFL for his eye-catching strike against former league champions Enugu Rangers, and Ikechukwu Ezenwa, who played for FC Ifeanyiubah last season, got the Best NPFL-based National Team Player award.

Plateau United won the Club of the Year and their trainer Kennedy Boboye got the award of Coach of the Year.

Last season’s top scorer in the NPFL, Anthony Okpotu of Lobi Stars with 19 goals,

FULL LIST OF WINNERS

1. BEST NEW PLAYER
Peter Eneji (Plateau United)

2. BEST FOREIGN PLAYER
Giscard Tchatto (MFM FC)

3. BEST GOALKEEPER
Suraj Ayeleso (Nasarawa United)

4. BEST DEFENDER
Daniel Itodo (Plateau United)

5. BEST MIDFIELDER
Batholomew Ikechukwu Ibenegbu (Enyimba)

6. CLUB OF THE YEAR
Plateau United

7. COACH OF THE YEAR
Kennedy Boboye (Plateau Utd)

8. BEST NPFL NATIONAL TEAM PLAYER
Ikechukwu Ezenwa (FC Ifeanyiubah)

9. GOAL OF THE SEASON
Sikiri Olatunbosun (MFM v Rangers)

10. BEST NWPL PLAYER
Rasheedat Ajibade (FC Robo)

11. BEST NNL PLAYER
Michael Ohanu (Kwara United)

12 HIGHEST GOAL SCORER
Anthony Okpotu (Lobi Stars) 19 Goals

13. PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Anthony Okpotu (Lobi Stars)