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IMG Academy Named Presenting Sponsor Of ITF World Tennis Tour Junior Rankings

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) and IMG Academy have today announced a new relationship that launches the ITF World Tennis Tour Junior Rankings Presented by IMG Academy.

IMG Academy will be the ITF World Tennis Tour Junior Rankings presenting sponsor throughout the season, providing weekly ranking releases and offering the global tennis community a full overview of rankings updates on the IMG Academy website.

The launch of the ITF World Tennis Tour at the beginning of 2019 was the culmination of a series of reforms designed to support talented junior players in their progression to the senior game. IMG Academy pioneered the concept of the tennis academy and continues to develop players of all ages, skill levels, and backgrounds with great success. This relationship reflects the shared commitment of the ITF and IMG Academy to developing the next generation of tennis stars.

Senior Executive Director of ITF Circuits, Kris Dent, said: “The ITF takes its responsibility for the Junior World Tennis Tour and the development and progression of its talented young players very seriously. We welcome this relationship with IMG Academy who share our dedication and passion.”

Jimmy Arias, IMG Academy Director of Player Development, added: “The development of junior tennis players has been at the core of IMG Academy’s DNA for more than four decades. It is exciting to be able to align with the ITF to combine our resources and expertise to promote the game of tennis to the next generation of players around the world.”

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RECORD-BREAKING RUN CONFIRMS TEFERA IS NO ONE-HIT WONDER

Of all the athletes who were crowned champions at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018, 1500m winner Samuel Tefera was one of the least known at the start of that year.

But instead of building on his indoor triumph, Tefera endured a frustrating outdoor campaign that was hampered by illness, winning just one of his seven races and finishing outside of the medals at the IAAF World U20 Championships Tampere 2018 and the African Championships.

“My form dropped a little bit,” he said at the IAAF Athletics Awards in December. “But I have been training hard and I want to be satisfied with 2019.”

Back on the boards, he started this year by clocking a world-leading PB of 3:35.57 to win at the IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting in Torun. He followed it four days later with a comfortable 3:36.72 victory in Lievin. But despite those marks, the bulk of the attention in Birmingham was on fellow Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha, who had announced his intentions to break the world indoor 1500m record.

Tefera wanted a piece of the action, though, and wasn’t simply going to be a spectator.

While Kejelcha tracked the pacemakers during the early laps, Tefera was tucked in close behind and bided his time before kicking for home. He overtook Kejelcha with less than 100 metres remaining and ran hard to the line, crossing it in a world indoor record of 3:31.04* to improve Hicham El Guerrouj’s mark by 0.14.

“I can’t believe that,” said the 19-year-old. “I’m delighted with the outcome and to have the world record is a special feeling.”

El Guerrouj later congratulated Tefera. “I am very proud and happy to have held the world indoor 1500m record for 22 years,” said the Moroccan. “I would like to congratulate Samuel Tefera for his excellent race and wish him good luck for the rest of his career.”

While Tefera faces a long season – one that will hopefully culminate with the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 – he has already showed that his world indoor triumph was no fluke and that he can be a factor in any kind of race.

*Subject to the usual ratification procedures

World Rugby, Rugby Africa Organise One Week Training In Mauritius

Three Rugby Africa delegates, Daniel Granett, John Bosco Muamba and Regional Training Manager Denver Wannies made the trip to Mauritius to facilitate a SuperWeek. On the agenda: five days of training on refereeing, coaching and sports medicine.

Trainings with World Rugby and Rugby Union Mauritius

In context with the Indian Ocean Islands Games (JIOI) scheduled for July 19-28, medical training sessions were held at the Sepp Blatter Football House for five days, for members of the JIOI 2019 Medical Commission. The aim of the training was to raise awareness of the importance of medical assistance in sport. Of the 122 participants, 52 of them (18 women and 34 men) were Nursing Officers, 44 (13 women and 31 men) were Doctors and 26 (18 women and 34 men) were Physios. 34% of the participants were women from several different sports backgrounds from Mauritius.

According to Denver Granett who is in charge of the medical trainings: « The SuperWeek has had until now the biggest attendance ever seen in Africa. This will in the long term showcase a positive image of rugby in Mauritius all over the continent. »

John Bosco Muama, referee trainer at Rugby Africa was also surprised by the number in attendance at the « Intro to Officiating » rugby course in which the U16 national men’s team was introduced to the laws of the game of World Rugby.

The Organizing Committee of the Islands Games (COJI), the Ministry of Youth and Sports, the Ministry of Health & Quality of Life and the RUM teamed-up for a week of training from the 04 to 08 February 2019

The coaching component was led by Denver Wannies and Patrice François, the national coach, initiator of the SuperWeek and World Rugby Coach. The latter highlighted the importance of these trainings, which within a week enabled the creation of an ideal platform for the different stakeholders of sports in Mauritius: « Rugby is a team sport that delivers collaborative efforts to excel. Through the SuperWeek trainings, a group got formed with a common vision to build for the future.”

ISSF President Pays Official Visit To Tokyo 2020 Games

The ISSF President Vladimir Lisin paid visit to the host city of the 2020 Olympic Games, Tokyo, where he held a series of meetings in connection with the preparations for the Olympic Shooting competitions.

The ISSF delegation discussed several important topics with representatives of the Organising Committee’s Sports Department, transportation, venue management, accommodation, procurement, sport presentation and other services.

Following the important tendency to reduce Organisers’ expenses, several proposals were made to reduce the costs for the construction of facilities and for the Test Event.

The ISSF delegation pointed out a good way of planning preparations to the Games, and agreed upon joint efforts with the Organising Committee in order to achieve the desired results.

The ISSF President also held meetings with the Presidents of the National Rifle Association of Japan (NRAJ) Mr. Kiichiro Matsumaru and of the Japan Clay Target Shooting Association (JCTSA) Mr. Yoshihiro Takahashi, and thanked them for the warm, friendly atmosphere and the optimistic mood enjoyed during the visit of the ISSF delegation.

The positive outcome of the visit were confirmed during a meeting with Mr. Yoshiro Mori, President of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee.

Lagos Media Marathon Not Exclusive To Journalists – Lagos SWAN Chairman

The Chairman of the Lagos State Branch of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, SWAN, Debo Oshundun has said the upcoming Lagos Media Marathon scheduled for May 1st is not exclusive to only journalists.

Speaking over the weekend in Lagos, Oshundun who is the Deputy Chairman of the Organising Committee said the Lagos Media Marathon though being spearheaded by journalists is opened to every member of the public to participate and have fun.

He explained that just like there is the Aviation Marathon in Singapore that is organised by stakeholders in the aviation industry but its open to every runner and Comrade Marathon organised by miners in South Africa and participation is usually for everybody, the Lagos Media Marathon, a 10km and 5km road race is open to participants outside the media industry.

“It is necessary we make this clarification because some erroneously think that the Lagos Media Marathon is only for journalists, it is for everybody, everybody across Nigeria and beyond are all welcomed to be part of the race” the Lagos SWAN chairman stated.

He added: “The only difference is that while journalists and students will not be paying any registration fees, other members of the general public will be paying a token of N3,000 to participate in the Lagos Media Marathon”

Debo Oshundun, Lagos SWAN Chairman

According to Oshundun, with the N3,000 registration fee, participants are guaranteed a quality goodie bag, quality running kits as well as medal among other things.

Oshundun also announced that the registration for the Lagos Media Marathon will officially take off on Friday, March 1st.

“The registration will begin on March 1st on our website lagosmediamarathon.com where people can pay and be entered immediately. Physical forms will also be made available at various centres that would be announced soon,” he concluded.

Already, organisers have stated that they are expecting over 30,000 runners in this inaugural edition of the Lagos Media Marathon.

U20 AFCON: Flying Eagles Lose Third Place On Penalties

Once more, penalty shoot–out proved the undoing of Paul Aigbogun’s Nigeria U20 squad as South Africa’s Amajita picked up the bronze medals of the 2019 Africa U20 Cup of Nations in Niamey on Saturday.

Failure to put away a number of opportunities that came their way proved fatal for the seven –time champions, who endured the humiliation of finishing outside the medals’ range at the tournament for the first time.

Peter Eletu, who was starting for the first time as the Nigerian camp tried to lift the morale of the boys following Wednesday’s penalty shoot-out defeat to Mali in the semi finals, fluffed what was a good opportunity in the 32nd minute when the ball fell invitingly to him just outside the Amajita’s eighteen –yard box during an onslaught. He instead hooked the ball listlessly over the bar.

The unflattering features of poor passes, aimless shots and pathetic lack of marksmanship that saw the Flying Eagles end up with the wrong end of the stick on Wednesday were again in full flow, and the encounter was a stinging reminder of the fact that Aigbogun and his assistants have to re-jig the squad before the World Cup finals in Poland in three months’s time.

Flying Eagles

Alhassan Adamu, who scored the goal against host nation Niger Republic that made the Flying Eagles finish at the top of Group A and earn a place at the World Cup, fluffed Nigeria’s first kick in the shoot –out, following a dismal show by both teams in regulation time.

South Africa scored all their kicks to pocket the bronze medals and of course the bragging rights after both teams finished their Group A clash scoreless on Matchday 2.

On Sunday, the impressive Lionceau du Teranga will lock horns with Mali’s Junior Eagles in the final match of the championship.

Ogunbote: Professionalism Key To Rangers Good Run

That Enugu Rangers have hit the ground running since the start of this year’s CAF Confederation Cup competition has left not a few followers of the game expectant.

In a chat with the press, Chief Coach of the Flying Antelopes, Gbenga Ogunbote has attributed the impressive run of the team so far in the competition to high- level professionalism, particularly, on the parts of the players.

“Firstly,I want to thank God for His love and protection. And I must also state that this team is filled with players who have consistently shown true professionalism so far. That has impacted positively on the team’s performances,” Ogunbote noted.

On the recent CCC tie against CS Sfaxien in Tunis which ended 1-1,he disclosed that the team was never under pressures even when they were trailing by a goal to the host in the game.

Rangers FC, Coach Olugbenga Ogunbote dishes out instructions to his players, Solomon Okpako and Christian Madu

“Tactical discipline and professionalism of the players came to the fore as they rallied to get the equaliser. They fully understood our targets did the needful to get the important point,” Ogunbote fondly called the ‘Oracle’, remarked sweetly.

He further stated that the team would bring the positive mindset to their domestic games in the NPFL.

“We shall prosecute our domestic games with the same fervour. And at the end of the season, hopes to finish on both fronts on a high,” he enthused.

Akeem Busari