The International Tennis Federation has today announced that Gabriela Sabatini has been awarded the ITF’s highest honour, the Philippe Chatrier Award.
The Philippe Chatrier Award, named after the former ITF President, was introduced in 1996 and is awarded to individuals or organisations that have made significant contributions to the sport of tennis both on and off the court.
Sabatini, who was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2006, enjoyed an outstanding career as a player winning the US Open singles title in 1990 and Wimbledon doubles in 1988, the same year she won the Olympic singles silver medal in Seoul. She retired in 1996 with 27 singles titles and 14 doubles titles, having reached a career high singles ranking of No.3.
Sabatini has continued to contribute to the sport and spends a significant amount of time promoting tennis and helping children around the world, working with UNICEF, UNESCO, the Special Olympics and as an Athlete Role Model at the 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games.
David Haggerty, the ITF President, said: “The ITF Board of Directors are delighted to award the ITF’s highest accolade to Gabriela, a great champion and inspirational role model who has given so much to the sport through her contributions to many organisations for the benefit of young people and aspiring tennis players around the world.”
2019 Philippe Chatrier Award winner, Gabriela Sabatini said: “When you get an award for the career you spent your whole life in, it’s such a big honour. It’s especially nice because I’ll be getting the award in Paris – it’s a place that is special and I always loved playing there. It’s such an important night where they give all the important awards, I’m very pleased and very honoured.”
The award will be presented at the ITF World Champions Dinner in Paris on 4 June.
It was a moment of reward for hardwork for many awardees, that included head coach of Enugu Rangers, Gbenga Ogunbote who won the Coach of the Year award at the second edition of the Aiteo/NFF awards held at the prestigious Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos, Monday night.
Ogunbote who led Enugu Rangers to win the federation cup last year after a pulsating final match against Kano Pillars, coming back from 0-3 to level scores at 3-3 in a match that would go down as one of the most exciting games in the history of the competition.
The former 3SC handler who once led Sunshine Stars of Akure to the semi final of the CAF Champions League, was in charge of the flying antelopes, as the team failed to progress beyond the group stages of the CAF Confederations Cup.
Responding after receiving the prestigious award, Ogunbote also called ‘Oracle’ by his admirers expressed his gratitude to God for the recognition.
Speaking further, the smooth talking gaffer was effusive in praises for the management and teeming fans of the team for their encouragement and support.
“I thank God for this award. I also want to say a big thank you to the organisers of this award,” he remarked.
“And to the management of the team and of course, our teeming fans,I say this award is for you. This award. would only spur me to doing better things for the club,” he added graciously.
At tonight’s IAAF Dinner ahead of tomorrow’s IAAF/Mikkeller World Cross Country Championships Aarhus 2019, IAAF President Sebastian Coe announced the winner of the competition to design the IAAF World Athletics Heritage Plaque.
Coe also took the opportunity of an enjoyable evening in Aarhus City Hall to confirm the award of plaques to six more recipients whose historic contribution to athletics were recognised in the ‘competition’ category.
The winner of the public competition to design the plaque, which Coe opened when he launched the new award on 2 December 2018, is Fernando Silva, a 27-year-old resident and recreational runner from the Brazilian city of Manaus.
The main oval of the design represents the ‘global’ sport of athletics, while the gold colour of that ring represents ‘excellence’. The six bright modern colours surrounding the main gold oval stand for the ‘universality’ of Athletics as represented by its six Continental Areas and the six core event groups of athletics: sprints, hurdles & relays; middle/long distance; combined events; jumping; throwing; ‘out of stadia’ (cross country, mountain, road, trial and ultra running and race walking).
Entries from across four continents
Coe commented “the concept of the World Athletics Heritage Plaque was very well received when we announced the project and the first dozen recipients in December. I’m delighted to confirm that the design competition attracted a high standard of entries across four continents. Now that we have a winner, we have moved an important step towards the first unveilings of plaques around the world in 2020.”
The plaque design will now undergo some further work ahead of manufacture at the end of the year.
Fernando Silva, who wins a trip for two to the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019, commented, “I’m extremely proud and honoured that my design has been recognised and that it will be permanently displayed in athletics locations around the world.”
“The folklore of sport”
Six more plaque locations, all ‘out-of-stadia’ competitions, were confirmed by Coe bringing the total number of recipients so far honoured to 18.
Appropriately given the reason for tonight’s IAAF Dinner, three of the new plaques recipients are historic cross country competitions. The English Cross Country Championships (founded 1877) and the USA Cross Country Championships (1889) are two of the oldest national championships in the multi terrain discipline and hold an aura which only comes from more than 100 years of running heritage. Italy’s annual Cinque Mulini (1933), an IAAF Cross Country Permit meeting, was also recognised for being an emblematic competition which over the decades has attracted many of the world’s best middle and long distance runners, including Coe.
In terms of road running, no other marathon race has a longer continuous tradition in the world or represents such history as does the B.A.A. Boston Marathon (1897).
The ‘Athens Marathon The Authentic’ (1972) might be a youngster by comparison to Boston having only have been founded under 50 years ago but, running on the original course from Marathon to Athens, its roots stretch back to Pheidippides’ famous run in 490BC.
When it comes to race walking there are few competitions to match the stature and history of the meeting in La Coruna, Spain. The annual Gran Premio Cantones de La Coruña (1986), which hosted the IAAF World Cup in 2006, is a beacon of excellence and the oldest IAAF Race Walking Challenge meeting.
“Tonight, we have recognised competitions which rest at the very heart of the history of athletics,” said Coe. “These six races have over the decades caught the imagination of athletes and fans alike, for whom they are high up in the bucket list of athletics events which must be experienced. Some elements like Boston Marathon’s Heartbreak Hill have become part of the folklore of world sport and have set these events apart as truly appropriate Heritage locations.”
All is now set for the second edition of the AITEO-NFF Football Awards ceremony which will take place at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos on Monday evening. The AITEO-NFF Football Awards is an annual event that rewards the best performers in the Nigerian Football industry over a period of 12 months, and debuted to much applause and accolades last year.
Chairman of the Awards Committee and NFF 1st Vice President, Barrister Seyi Akinwunmi, confirmed to thenff.com on Thursday that the Secretary –General of world football–governing body, FIFA, Ms Fatma Samoura has confirmed her arrival in Nigeria for the big event.
Sources also informed thenff.com that about 20 Presidents of Member Associations of FIFA and CAF have been invited from across the African continent.
Chieftains of sponsors AITEO (Nigeria’s leading energy solution company) led by Deputy Managing Director, Francis Peters, will grace Monday’s showpiece.
Already, about six State Governors have been invited, alongside Nigeria’s Sports Minister Solomon Dalung. The occasion will also be graced by Board Members of the NFF, Members of the NFF Congress, Members of NFF Management, representatives of NFF sponsors and partners, chairmen of various football Clubs, members of the diplomatic corps, past NFF Presidents and General Secretaries, award nominees and their friends. A number of renown stakeholders and oaks of the entertainment industry will also be in the auditorium on Monday night.
Leading television stations, SuperSport and Africa Independent Television (AIT) will broadcast the event live.
Thenff.com learnt on Thursday that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State and FIFA Secretary General, Fatma Samoura (the first woman holder of that exalted position and a proud daughter of the African continent) will receive special awards at the occasion.
When it debuted last year, it marked the first time that the nation’s football –governing body was organizing an Awards ceremony to reward and inspire the major actors and actresses in the Nigerian Football space.
On Monday, gongs will be presented to winners in Player of the Year (men), Player of the Year (women), Coach of the Year (men), Coach of the Year (women), Young Player of the Year (men), Young Player of the Year (women), Team of the Season, Fairplay Award, Goal of the Season, Fans of the Season, NFF Development Award, NFF Order of Merit Award, Lifetime Achievement Award and Platinum Award categories.
Also, there will be special recognition of a ‘Legends Eleven,’ a squad of outstanding former Nigeria international players. Last year’s gong went to the 1973 set of Green Eagles that won Nigeria’s first major honour – the gold medal of the football event of the 2nd All-Africa Games that held in Lagos.
Chairman of the Organizing Committee, Barrister Akinwunmi also confirmed that this year’s honour will go to the Super Eagles’ Class of 1994 – the team that qualified Nigeria for her first –ever FIFA World Cup finals, won the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time on away ground and spectacularly reached the Round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup finals in USA.
LAST YEAR’S AWARD WINNERS
Young Player of the Year (Women): Rasheedat Ajibade
Young Player of the Year (Men): Ikouwem Udoh
Fair Play Award: Remo Stars FC
Fans of the Season: El-Kanemi Warriors FC Fans
Coach of the Year (Women): Ann Chiejine
Coach of the Year (Men): Kennedy Boboye
Goal of the Year: Sikiru Olatubosun (MFM FC)
Team of the Season: Plateau United FC
NFF Development Award: Channels Television (Channels Kids’ Cup)
Legends Eleven: Ann Chiejine, Austin Eguavoen, Felix Owolabi, Nwankwo Kanu, Christian Chukwu, Uche Okechukwu, Segun Odegbami, Mercy Akide-Udoh, Thompson Usiyen, Augustine ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, Adokiye Amiesimaka
Special Recognition: Nigeria’s 1973 All-Africa Games Gold Medallists
World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Baseball World Cup® umpire Po Chun Liu was awarded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Women and Sport World Trophy, the highest distinction that the IOC bestows in the category, on Tuesday (19 March) at a dedicated awards ceremony on the side-lines of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York City, USA.
Liu, a native of Chinese Taipei, was given the IOC World Trophy as part of six “change-makers” advancing women and girls in and through sport,” the IOC said, with five others earning Continental Trophies.
Liu, known as the “Mother of Women’s Baseball” in Chinese Taipei, made her World Cup debut as an umpire at WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup 2010 in Maracay, Venezuela, and was featured in Forbes’ 2018 list of the Most Powerful Women in International Sports. She most recently was an umpire at the WBSC Women’s Baseball World Cup 2018 in Viera, Florida, USA.
“It’s our responsibility to empower girls and women so they’ll realise their full potential and take charge of their lives,” Liu said in her acceptance speech. “To help a girl is to help a family.”
She began as a volunteer at the youth level, becoming the first female baseball umpire in Chinese Taipei. A full-time social worker, Liu is dedicated to creating opportunities for girls and women to be better represented in sport, organising baseball clinics and workshops in her homeland. Liu is determined to help “strike out gender discrimination”.
WBSC Secretary General Low said: “This prestigious honour reflects Ms. Liu’s positive impact on gender equality and breaking down stereotypes in sports, using baseball as a global platform.”
WBSC Vice President and IOC Member Allen said: “Liu is a role model and source of inspiration in her homeland, for the sport of baseball, and now for the whole Olympic Movement, as she helps redefine women’s roles in sport and paves the way to unlock opportunities and a more level playing field for future generations of girls and women in sport.”
IOC President Thomas Bach released the following statement from the UN headquarters: “The Women and Sport Awards are very important because these personalities we are honouring have shown what can be achieved by empowering women and girls through sport.
“Supporting such champions for women’s empowerment is essential in our overall commitment to gender equality.
“In today’s world, no organisation or country can afford to let half of the population be left behind – either in sport or in society.”
Introduced in 2000, the IOC Women and Sport Awards are given to individuals or organisations who have made remarkable contributions to the development, encouragement and reinforcement of women’s and girls’ participation in sport, including at the administration and leadership levels.
Nigeria Rugby President, Kelechukwu Mbagwu has received an award from the National Institute for Sports as the outstanding sports personality of the decade – Rugby, at a Gala event held at the Civic Center, Victoria Island, Lagos on Wednesday.
Mbagwu awarded for his contributions to Rugby in Nigeria in the last fifteen years and his role in Nigeria’s successful bid to host the Africa Silver Cup in June, 2019 which will see Nigeria play Botswana, Madagascar and Ghana in Lagos amongst other achievements.
Having assumed the role of NRFF president in July 2017, Mbagwu quickly set up an administrative office for the federation in Surulere Lagos named ‘The Rugby House’. He then played a central role in ensuring a constitution was ratified by stakeholders of Nigeria Rugby in March 2018 and got Nigeria back on track following a suspension By World Rugby.
Kelechukwu Mbagwu hails from Abia State. He studied Geography at the University of Ibadan and had his master’s degree in the UK. When he returned, he joined Lagos Rugby Club. The only rugby club in Lagos at the time where he became the club’s Secretary in 1999. He co-founded Racing Rugby Club alongside Dele Coker and Iby Obatoyinbo in the year 2000 and was a Trustee of the club. He then founded and sponsored Cowrie Rugby Club in the 2005/2006 season. He groomed the club from strugglers in the league to Lagos League Champions in 2008 and Nigerian champions in 2016. He was able to achieve this by introducing semi-professionalism structure into club rugby administration by employing players thereby making them part-time athletes to enable players concentrate on work and rugby and this brought about positive results.
The NIS Awards of Sporting Excellence, convocation/lecture and investiture of honorary fellows of the institute, as well as recognition awards for sports journalism was organised to mark the silver jubilee of the institute. The gala convocation involved graduates who have completed their training programmes
The National Institute for Sports is a statutory institution set up for sports research, training and development of sports personnel in Nigeria.
For 25 years, the Institute has in dedication to its vision delivered on its statutory mandate to produce over 15,000 graduates in sports. All of whom have continued to place Nigeria on the global sporting map.