With exactly two years to go until the athletics action gets underway in the Japanese capital, the IAAF has published the qualification system for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

The qualification system was approved at the IAAF Council meeting in Buenos Aires last week and includes details of the entry numbers for each discipline and the qualification timeline.

For the 10,000m, marathon, race walks, combined events and relays, the qualification period runs from 1 January 2019 to 29 June 2020. For all other events, the qualification period runs from 1 July 2019 to 29 June 2020.

Athletes can qualify in one of two ways:

• By virtue of their IAAF world ranking position at the end of the qualification period.
• Achieving the entry standard within the qualification period.

Entry standards will be approved and published later this year, but will be set for the sole purpose of qualifying athletes with exceptional performances unable to qualify through the IAAF world rankings pathway.

official logo of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will open on 24 July with the athletics programme starting on 31 July.

Earlier this month, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board approved the competition schedule for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, outlining the start and finish times of each session. The more detailed competition schedule, identifying the individual times of specific events, will be announced by the spring of 2019.

The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) also recently announced an outline of ticket prices for the Games. There are a wide range of prices aimed at allowing as many people as possible to enjoy Olympic events, including millions of tickets at affordable prices, with half of all tickets priced at JPY 8,000 or less. Fans will be able to apply for tickets from the spring of 2019.


ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open: Top Seed Aruna Quadri Gets ITTF Nod For World Cup

The men’s singles top seed at the 2018 ITTF Challenge Nigeria Open, Aruna Quadri has been given the nod to be part of the top 20-man contingent listed by the ITTF for the 2018 Men’s World Cup holding in Paris, France.

Quadri had missed out of the prestigious tournament following his 3-4 loss to Egypt’s Omar Assar at the 2018 Top 16 Africa Cup in Kenya earlier in the year, but the Nigerian had to rely on his world ranking to make the final list for the lucrative tournament holding on October 19 to 21.

The world table tennis ruling body confirmed the eventual qualification of the Nigerian alongside 19 others for the championship.

In an invitation signed by Zena Sim, Head of World Cup and ITTF Challenge, Quadri’s qualification was based on his July ITTF ranking.

“On behalf of the ITTF, we would like to invite Quadri Aruna to participate in the Liebherr 2018 Men’s World Cup in Paris from 19-21 Oct. Quadri Aruna qualified based on his status as 2018 Africa Cup 2nd place (after taking the July World Ranking (WR) in consideration),” Sim said.

For Aruna Quadri, this is the reward of hard work. “After losing the ITTF Africa Top 16 Cup in Kenya, I have not been sleeping because I knew that it is still very possible to qualify through world ranking but I must work a lot for it.

Aruna Quadri

“I can say that my qualification to the round of 32 in Qatar and Germany as well as some of my important victories in Sweden at the World Championship were enough to secure a place for me in France. I am very happy and excited that I finally made it and mission is accomplished. Also the good show I put up at the Hong Kong Open was enough as well,” Quadri said.

Also listed for the Men’s World Cup are Egypt’s Omar Assar as well as China’s duo of Ma Long and Fan Zhendong; Brazil’s Hugo Calderano and Gustavo Tsuboi; Germany’s Timo Boll and Dimitrij Ovtcharov; South Korea’s LEE Sangsu and JEONG Sangeun; France’s Simon Gauzy and LEBESSON Emmanuel; Japan’s Niwa Koki and HARIMOTO Tomokazu; Sweden’s KARLSSON Mattias, Belarus’ Vladimir Samsonov; Hong Kong’s WONG Chun Ting; Denmark’s Jonathan Groth; United States’ Khanak Jha and Australia’s HU Heming.


One of the biggest annual swimming competition is around the corner, and it is time to start previewing the event and the medal contenders.

FINA managed to steal a little bit of time of two of the best swimmers of the FINA Swimming World Cup, the current Title holder South Africa’s Chad Le Clos and SWC 2017 6th place Daiya Seto of Japan.

The Swimming World Cup 2018 promises to be once again a fierce battle between the sport’s biggest names.

“No pressure at all, the World Cups are always a good time, of course I always want to win any competition I race in but I feel the World Cups are always special for me,” says a very confident and relaxed Le Clos, who currently trains in Antalya in Turkey for about 30 hours per week.

Discussing the format of the Series, Le Clos adds:

“For me personally, I think short course swimming is more exciting when it is over a series of events. I’ve always enjoyed the concept of a circuit with many stops around the world, although sometimes the structure around the events makes it difficult to train in between, especially when travelling through time zones.”

Seto is also looking forward to facing his opponents:

“The World Cup is fun. I’m looking forward to the race with the rivals. I think that it will be good exercise.”

World Cup’s favourite Le Clos admits having many favourites hosts:

“I have many but my all-time favourites are Doha, Eindhoven and Singapore because they combine great swimming facilities with an exciting atmosphere.”

“The World Cup is an opportunity for me to work on my skills throughout the year with short course racing and I challenge myself to win the overall series. There are many great champions that have come through and will challenge, and I have huge respect for all of them.”

photo credit: FINA

For Seto, who currently swims about 10km every day in preparation, it is the adrenaline of racing the Butterfly King that is the most exciting:

“Chad le Clos of South Africa is the one I am particularly looking forward to swimming next to because he is tough.”

Positive thinking and winning attitude is definitely two ways to describe Seto and Le Clos although the latter confess the best advice he ever received was from his father, Bert Le Clos, whom we know well from his energy in the stands.

“I have received a lot of great advice from numerous mentors but the best advice has usually come from my Dad, he is the greatest. He has always said to me to never give up in any race no matter how far behind or ahead you are, that’s why I’m always able to push through during tough wins or losses.”

Both athletes have confirmed they will attend the FINA World Swimming Championships 2018 in Hangzhou, China, in December this year with the objective to establish new World Records.


WBSC Awards Broadcast Rights Across 80+ Territories For 2018 Women’s Softball World Championship/2020 Olympic Qualifier

WBSC, 2018 Women’s Softball World Championship, 2020 Olympic Qualifier,

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) today announced that broadcast and online rights agreements covering 84 countries and territories have been reached for the upcoming WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship — a Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Qualifier — which is set to open this Thursday, 2 August, in Chiba, Japan.

WBSC President Riccardo Fraccari said: “These agreements will guarantee record coverage and engagement for the Women’s Softball World Championship in Chiba, driving the exposure and excitement of our sport to millions of households and mobile users across the world, while further building the anticipation of baseball and softball’s historic return at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.”

In Europe, Sportradar has been awarded live-streaming rights across 42 European territories and will provide blanket coverage via its leading OTT platform at www.baseballsoftball.tv.

In Japan, WBSC has awarded TV Tokyo the exclusive host broadcasting rights and the exclusive online/mobile and broadcast rights.

FloSports (www.flosoftball.com) has been awarded the exclusive English live-streaming rights in Canada and the United States.

AYM Sports has acquired rights in 41 countries and territories and will offer Spanish-language coverage across North, South and Central America, and the Caribbean.

All games of the WBSC Women’s Softball World Championship 2018 will be live-streamed and free-to-view on the WBSC YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/wbsc) for those games and territories not covered by WBSC’s broadcast and live-stream partners.

The worldwide list of territories covered by WBSC’s partners can be found here.

For complete tournament news and updates, the official tournament website at https://wswc.wbsc.org is available in six languages (English, French, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and Traditional Chinese).

Heather Bowler joins ITF as Executive Director, Communications & Digital Services

The International Tennis Federation has appointed Heather Bowler as Executive Director, Communications & Digital Services.

Bowler joins the ITF to lead the Communications and Digital Services team from 3 September 2018.

“We are delighted to announce Heather’s appointment as ITF Executive Director of Communications and Digital Services,” said ITF President David Haggerty.

Heather Bowler

“This is a pivotal time for the ITF with our ambitious programme of change helping to transform our sport at all levels of the game. Communications is at the heart of ITF2024 as we seek to develop, grow and promote tennis at all levels of the sport and in all 210 member nations. We have a compelling story to tell and I am delighted to welcome Heather to the ITF team to help us tell it with energy and vision.”

Bowler joins the ITF from the Women’s Tennis Association where she held the role of SVP Marketing & Communications. Prior to the WTA, she was Global Communications Director for live sports broadcaster Eurosport from 2007-2014 and previously held senior international communications roles at Interpublic Group of Companies owned global agencies: firstly as Press Relations Manager at creative ad agency Lowe Lintas, before being appointed Corporate Communications Officer at media agency Initiative Media Worldwide in 2000.

Bowler will work closely with national and regional tennis associations to promote tennis at every level, from grassroots to elite professional competition. She will be responsible for leading strategic communications to promote the key initiatives, innovations and positive change resulting from the ITF’s strategic roadmap and long-term project for sustainable growth, ITF2024.

Bowler will work with the Communications and Digital Services team to develop a communications and digital content plan to create engagement and excitement for the ITF’s key initiatives to grow the sport globally as well as its key events including the Olympic and Paralympic Tennis Events, Davis Cup By BNP Paribas and Fed Cup by BNP Paribas, and more than 4,000 tournaments on the Pro, Junior, Wheelchair, Seniors and Beach tennis circuits.

Bowler said: “Tennis is a global sport that offers gripping action and excites emotion. Whether it’s watching a competition match at an event or on TV, following your national champion online or simply grabbing a racquet for a game with friends and family, tennis brings people together. It has its heroes, its rules of engagement and its values. Success in this sport is based upon respect, resilience and determination. It’s a phenomenal sport to work in and I’m thrilled to join the ITF and be part of the ITF2024 movement to drive the participation and awareness of the sport forward

NFF Offer To Train, Absorb Ikeme Into Super Eagles’ Crew

The Nigeria Football Federation has announced that it will offer retired Super Eagles’ safe hands Carl Ikeme coaching education as a goalkeeper trainer and then absorb him into the technical crew of the Senior National Football Team.

NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi disclosed at the weekend that the Federation is in contact with Ikeme, who announced his retirement from the game on Friday afternoon, with a view to training him as a goalkeeper coach.

“Carl Ikeme was an embodiment of absolute dedication, commitment and patriotic fervour in the games that he played for the Super Eagles. The circumstances of his retirement from the game are somewhat depressing, even as we thank God for his life.

“The Nigeria Football Federation will find the resources to send him on a coaching course, and afterwards absorb him into the technical crew of the Super Eagles. That is the least we can do for such a dedicated patriot.”

Dr. Sanusi revealed that the NFF was in the know about Ikeme’s plan to retire from football. “A few weeks ago, he had spoken on phone with the NFF President and 1st Vice President of CAF, Mr. Amaju Melvin Pinnick, to intimate him on his (Ikeme’s) desire to retire. Even though he was sad about, the NFF President commended his fighting spirit and respected his decision, and also said he would rather allow the player or his club to break the news.”

Carl Ikeme
photo credit: @TheNFF

Wolverhampton Wanderers FC of England goalie Ikeme, diagnosed with acute leukaemia in July 2017 but who entered into complete remission only last month, announced his decision to retire from the beautiful game on Friday.

He played 191 matches for Wolverhampton Wanderers FC, and was pivotal in the club’s promotion from League One to the English Championship. He is currently being heavily celebrated for uniting a club more renowned for its divisive tendencies.

Ikeme was in goal for the Super Eagles in 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches against Swaziland home and away, and away to Zambia; the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Tanzania home and away, and against Egypt at home, and; in friendly matches against Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon and Niger Republic.

Nigeria’s Falconets Win Big, Ready For FIFA World Cup

Nigeria’s U20 girls, Falconets, will depart from their final training camp in Tirol, Austria on Thursday, 2nd August for the FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup, with high level of confidence after scoring seven goals and conceding none in two friendly games.

The 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup silver medallists hammered Austrian Women League top flight team, FC Wacker Innsbruck 4-0 in their final pre-tournament friendly in Tirol, Austria on Saturday, with a brace from top scorer Rasheedat Ajibade and one each from Adebisi Saheed and Chinyere Igboamalu. A few days earlier, the Nigerian girls had spanked another Austrian top flight side, FC Bergheim 3-0.

Saturday’s match in Tirol was also watched by Nigeria’s Youth and Sports Minister Solomon Dalung.

Ajibade, who plays for FC Robo Queens of Lagos and also featured at the last tournament in Papua New Guinea, top–scored for Nigeria in the African qualifying campaign and is heavily touted to dazzle the world in France next month.

Nigeria’s Asisat Oshoala was the top scorer and best player at the 2014 finals in Canada, where the Falconets finished as runners-up behind Germany.

The U20 girls remain Nigeria’s most successful women’s team at global level, winning silver at the FIFA World Cup twice (Germany 2010 and Canada 2014) and bronze once (Japan 2012), and reaching the quarter finals in Thailand (2004), Russia (2006) and Chile (2008).

The four official host cities for the 9th FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup are located in the Brittany region: Concarneau, Dinan/Léhon, Saint-Malo and Vannes. The Stade de la Rabine in Vannes will host the opening match on 5th August as well as the final match of the competition on 24th August.

Nigeria’s Falconets

Nigeria will battle Haiti, China and Germany in Group D of the 16 –nation finals, while Africa’s other flagbearer Ghana must negotiate a tough Group A against host France, New Zealand and The Netherlands.

Group B has North Korea, England, Mexico and Brazil while USA, Japan, Paraguay and Spain fight things out in Group D.

The Falconets’ opening match is against perennial foes Germany (who beat Nigeria in the 2010 and 2014 Final matches) at the Stade de Marville in Saint-Malo on Monday, 6th August, before clashes with Haiti at the same venue on Thursday, 9th August and against China in Dinan/Léhon’s Stade de Clos Gastel on Monday, 13th August.

To qualify for the finals, the Falconets dismissed Tanzania’s U20 girls 9-0 aggregate, brushed aside Morocco 6-2 on aggregate and whiplashed their South African counterparts 8-0 over two legs in January this year.


Goalkeepers: Onyinyechukwu Okeke, Rita Akarekor, Chiamaka Nnadozie

Defenders: Glory Ogbonna, Opeyemi Sunday, Mary Ologbosere, Joy Duru, Blessing Ezekiel, Oluwakemi Famuditi

Midfielders: Christy Ucheibe, Bashirat Amoo, Peace Efih, Adebisi Saheed, Mary Saiki, Taibat Odueke, Grace Igboamalu

Forwards: Rasheedat Ajibade, Anam Imo, Chidinma Okeke, Aishat Bello, Gift Monday