• follow us in feedly

Clinton invites 8 year-old Nigerian chess champion, Adewunmi

By News desk

Former U.S President, Bill Clinton has congratulated the eight year-old Nigerian chess champion, Tanitoluwa Adewunmi and also invited him and his parents to his office for personal introduction.

The young Nigerian recently won the New York State Chess championship for his age bracket.

Adewunmi had won seven chess trophies including the state tournament, where he outwitted other children.

The story went viral and got the attention of Clinton, who was amazed by the accomplishment of the young Nigerian.

Tanitoluwa and his family are taking asylum in a homeless shelter in Manhattan after they fled the Boko Haram insurgency since 2018.

He went undefeated at the state tournament, outwitting children from elite private schools with private chess tutors.

Tanitoluwa rating is now 1587 and rising fast and he is being compared with the world’s best player, Magnus Carlsen, who stands at 2845.

His feat has attracted commendations from parents and celebrities.

In a tweet on his Twitter handle, the former number one citizen said: “Refugees enrich our nation and talent is universal, even if opportunity is not.”

The former U.S president now joins the queue of people celebrating the boy and his feats.

Clinton said “this story made me smile, Tanitoluwa “ you exemplify a winning spirit – in chess and in life. And kudos to your hardworking parents. You all should stop by my office in Harlem; I’d love to meet you.”

Tanitoluwa placed first in the New York State Scholastic Championships tournament for kindergarten through third grade, a remarkable win for anyone.

In an interview with newsmen the young chess champion said: “I want to be the youngest grandmaster.”

Arsenal’s player, Ramsey, doubtful ahead Wales Euro 2020 qualifier

By News desk

The Wales National team Manager, Ryan Giggs, has disclosed that Ethan Ampadu, Sam Vokes and Tom Lawrence will not be available for selection ahead of their first Euro 2020 qualifier against Slovakia.

Giggs also disclosed that Arsenal midfielder, Aaron Ramsey, is expected to be fit, a claim that was not certain.

Ramsey did not take part in yesterday’s training session and will sit out Wednesday’s friendly against Trinidad and Tobago in Wrexham, while Ampadu (back), Vokes (groin) and Lawrence (ankle) have not joined up with the squad.

“Aaron’s just got a slight knock to his thigh, so we’re just monitoring that. He should be OK for the weekend. He won’t be involved tomorrow,” Giggs told reporters.

“They (Ampadu, Lawrence and Vokes) have got different injuries. Ethan’s got a slight back strain.

“Tom Lawrence… took a blow to his other ankle. He was struggling with one ankle, then got a knock on the other ankle. And Vokesy’s been struggling with his groin.”

2019 Miami Open suffers setback

By News desk

The 2019 Miami Open suffered severe setbacks after rain wiped out the opening day play, delaying the start of the tournament at its new Hard Rock Stadium home.

Having outgrown the cramped quarters of Key Biscayne’s Crandon Park, and unable to secure the necessary approvals to renovate and expand, the Miami Open has moved to the home of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins but the day-long rain spoilt the moment yesterday.

With a 25 percent jump in ticket sales, tournament director James Blake, the former world number four, had been expecting a record crowd but instead the 14,000 seat temporary show court inside the stadium stood empty and the luxury boxes were silent.

Germany’s Andrea Petkovic and 17-year-old American Amanda Anisimova were scheduled to christen the action on the main show court with Mari Osaka, the sister of Japanese world number one Naomi Osaka, taking on Whitney Osuigwe in the nightcap.

Tuesday’s first round play was supposed to be a dress rehearsal for Wednesday’s official opening, which will see Serena Williams, who is a part-owner in the Dolphins, Roger Federer and world number ones Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka taking part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“When we get through the first day or two and see what we are in store for I have a feeling we will be announcing a lot of (attendance) records broken this year,” American Blake told Reuters in a pre-tournament interview.

“I don’t want to be too pie-in-the-sky but I do think we are going to break a records.”

Once the rain disappears fans can expect a wide open tournament if the season follows the current trend.

There have been 19 ATP Tour events this season and 13 WTA events each producing a different winner.

Bianca Andreescu, the 18-year-old Canadian who stunned the field in Indian Wells last week to claim her first career win, is on that list and comes to Miami looking to complete what would be an even more unlikely Sunshine Double.

Sloane Stephens, the reigning Miami champion, and Serena Williams, an eight-time winner of what she considers her home event, can count on having the American crowd in their corner as will John Isner, who is back to defend his crown.

Serena, whose name is not among the 13 women’s winners this season, has sister Venus in her quarter of the draw along with the always dangerous second-seeded Romanian Simona Halep.

The men’s draw is also thick with former champions led by six times winner and world number one Djokovic and three-time winner Federer.

The Swiss comes to Florida in superb form after collecting his 100th career win in Dubai and coming off a finals appearance in Indian Wells but will be on alert after crashing out in the first round here a year ago.

World number one Osaka will also be wary with in-form German player, Angelique Kerber, a losing finalist in Indian Wells, lurking in her quarter.

Barcelona ex-midfielder, Xavi, raises concern over 48-team Qatar World Cup

By News desk

Former Spain midfielder Xavi Hernandez says FIFA should abandon a proposal to increase the number of teams at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to 48 from 32.

The World Cup will feature 48 teams for the 2026 edition, to be co-hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada, but FIFA President Gianni Infantino said last week increasing the number of teams for the 2022 tournament was “feasible”.

Former Barcelona great Xavi, who won the World Cup with Spain in 2010 and is seeing out his career in Qatar with top-flight club Al Sadd, said 48 teams would not be the right option for 2022, however.

“It’s too much and too long. Imagine 48 teams in Qatar, it will not be good in my opinion,” he told reporters on Monday.

“It’s still for the organisers to decide, but for now Qatar is doing everything to prepare for 32 teams and it will be difficult to change it for more teams. Also, it’s good for football to have 32. That’s more than enough.”

Should FIFA and Qatari organisers agree on a proposal to increase the number of teams, it would be put to a vote at the FIFA Congress in Paris on June 5.

Xavi, who was in Mumbai for a promotional event for Generation Amazing, a legacy programme initiated by Qatar 2022 organisers, also expected Qatar to acquit themselves well on the field at the tournament.

The tiny Gulf state stunned four-times champions Japan to win this year’s Asian Cup and Xavi was not surprised by their breakthrough success.

“I thought the football there was the worst when I first went there,” the 39-year-old said. “But they’ve improved a lot and very quickly since then, everybody saw it at the Asian Cup.”

FIFA mulls Arsene Wenger’s appointment

By News desk

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) has commence negotiation with former Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, to secure his services for development of the game globally.

FIFA consideration came months after the renowned football tactician quit his job as manager of the London club, Arsenal.

It was learned that Wenger has been approached by FIFA to head the technical development department.

FIFA boss, Gianni Infantino wants Wenger to oversee changes in rules of the game as well as technological innovations.

It was not clear whether Wenger has accepted Infantino’s offer to lead the charge towards football development globally.

Another source added that Wenger leads the pecking order on FIFA list for the assignment.

It would be recalled that Wenger stepped down as Arsenal head coach last year after s 22 years. He won three Premier League titles and seven FA cups.

He had said he is looking forward to return to football.

Pacquiao warns son against embracing boxing

By News desk

Philippine boxing legend, Manny Pacquiao, has urged his eldest son to stay out of the ring after the 19-year-old’s forays into fighting made young man’s mother cry.

Pacquiao, the only fighter to win world titles in eight different weight divisions, said he and his wife have even made a point not to have gloves and equipment at home.

The boxer, known for his rags-to-riches climb from the street, has tried to push his son, Emmanuel Jr, who is known Jimuel, to choose another path.

“It pains me that he is boxing because I know how hard it is. I told him, ‘Daddy only went into boxing because of poverty… You, you don’t need to box.

“But he said: ‘Daddy, like you boxing is my passion also. I want to be a representative of this country as an athlete’,” Pacquiao added.

The boxer made the comments after a video of Jimuel sparring during an exhibition match was posted on Facebook.

“His mommy had cried several times telling him, ‘Don’t go into boxing, son’,” Pacquiao said of his wife, Jinkee, who had also urged the 40-year-old boxer to retire. He really wants to do it,” he added.

The younger Pacquiao wouldn’t be the first son of a high-profile boxer to follow dad’s lead. The sons of British boxers Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank, as well as American slugger Joe Frazier became fighters.

The Facebook footage shows the younger Pacquiao sending his opponent to his knees with aggressive moves reminiscent of his father. Jimuel was wearing gloves and gear branded “Pacman”, his dad’s nickname.

The elder Pacquiao was watching the match through a video call and was seen talking to his son before it started.

An aide for Pacquiao told newsmen that Jimuel took up boxing last year before his father easily defeated Adrien Broner in Las Vegas.

As for his own career, Pacquiao said he was still eager for a rematch with Floyd Mayweather but had yet to discuss his next fight with adviser Al Haymon.

Pacquiao had last year signed with Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions group after being promoted by Top Rank’s Bob Arum for the past 14 years.

Pacquiao said he was open to fighting unbeaten US “super champion” Keith Thurman, Errol Spence Jr or Britain’s Amir Khan.

Qatar moves to 2019 AFC Asian final, defeats UAE

By News desk

Qatari National team on Tuesday defeated the United Arab Emirates (UAE) 4-0 to advance to the 2019 AFC Asian Cup final for the first time.

Following the qualification, Qatar will face Japan in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup final on Friday in Abu Dhabi.

It would be recalled that four-time champion, Japan, yesterday, defeated three-time champion, Iran, 3-0 to reach the final.

Japan is the most successful team in the Asian Cup with four titles, followed by Iran and Saudi Arabia with three apiece.

Qatar had advanced to the semifinals for the first time by beating two-time champion South Korea.

The UAE’s biggest ever success is that it played the final of the 1996 Asian Cup.

2019 AFC Asian Cup is the men’s football championship of Asia organized by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

It would be recalled that the 17th edition of the AFC Asian Cup had kicked off in the UAE on Jan. 5.

CAF adjust Nations Cup date to accommodate Ramadan fasting

By News Desk

The dates for this year’s African Nations Cup finals in Egypt have been moved back a week, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said on Monday, reportedly to allow players to rest after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Ramadan is scheduled to begin on the evening of May 5 and will end around June 4. Observers fast during daylight hours over this period, which can have an effect on the performance of athletes.

The expanded 24-team tournament will now kick-off on June 21 and run through to the final on July 19.

The decision was reached at an Emergency Committee meeting even as the governing body confirming shift in a circular sent to its member associations.

According to media reports, a request was made for the move by a number of mainly Muslim North African nations, including Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria, who have all already sealed qualification.

CAF also confirmed that the draw for the first round pool stage will take place in Cairo on April 12.

Fourteen countries have already booked a finals berth, including first time participants Madagascar and Mauritania, with the remaining 10 places to be decided when the qualification campaign concludes in March.

 

 

Japanese tennis player, Osaka, becomes No. 1 after lifting 2019 Australian open

By News desk

Japan tennis player, Naomi Osaka, will on Monday become the 26th Women Tennis Association (WTA) World No.1 following her Australian Open victory.

The victory over his Czech eighth seed Petra Kvitova, has made her first Japanese tennis player to attain such height in the history of the game.

Osaka, 21 year-old, who turned professional in 2014, battled Kvitova in a three sets encounter, 7-6 (7/2), 5-7, 6-4, to win her first Australian Open crown on Saturday.

The fourth seed and US Open champion made it two Grand Slam titles in a row after a see-sawing 2hr 27min match.

Her hard-fought victory has further earn her first Asian, male or female, to hold the world’s top ranking, taking over from Romania’s Simona Halep.

A rattled Osaka almost blew her title hopes with one hand on the trophy when she failed to convert three championship points when up 5-3 in the second set.

The never-say-die Kvitova won four straight games to force a deciding set before Osaka finally edged ahead with a decisive break early in the third.

The Japanese youngster fell to one knee in celebration, head bowed, after her epic win as Melbourne Park erupted in thunderous cheers.

It was a marked contrast to her maiden Slam win last year, when Osaka cried as boos rang around Flushing Meadows following losing finalist Serena Williams’ tirade at the umpire.

This time, Osaka wept tears of joy and smiled as she became the youngest woman to win back-to-back majors since Martina Hingis in 1998 and the youngest number one since Caroline Wozniacki in 2010.

Her performance confirms her status as the leading light of tennis’ new generation.

Predictions of a slugfest between two of the game’s biggest hitters proved accurate as Kvitova hit 16 winners to Osaka’s 14 in the first set.

The pair had never met before and Osaka initially struggled to unlock the lanky left-hander’s serve, while Kvitova at times could not handle her opponent’s powerful returns.

The Czech mixed up her game with drop shots and changes of pace but blew three break chances in a crunch sixth game.

Serving to stay in the set, Kvitova saved two set points to force a tie-break, which Osaka ran away with 7-2 after finally appearing to get a read on Kvitova’s serve.

It was the first set the Czech had conceded in the entire tournament.

Kvitova regrouped and kept her hopes alive with the first break of the match to go up 2-0 in the second after going after Osaka’s second serve.

Osaka was frustrated but did not panic, earning three break-back points in the next game, the decisive one off a Kvitova double fault, which she conceded with a poorly hit drop shot to put the set back on level terms.

Osaka, who went into the match with a record of winning 59 straight matches after taking the first set, broke again to take control as Kvitova’s error rate climbed.

Osaka then brought up three championship points off Kvitova’s serve but the Czech saved all of them, forcing Osaka to serve for the title.

Nerves took hold as Osaka conceded a break to make it 5-5, smashing a ball into the ground and putting her hands over her ears.

She was rattled further after losing a challenge in the next, bringing up break point with a cross-court backhand but was unable to stop Kvitova holding.

The Czech then broke again to seize momentum with her fourth straight game, claiming the set as Osaka left the court with a towel draped over her head.

She regained her cool and came out firing in the third, backing herself and clipping a clean backhand winner after another Kvitova double fault brought up break point in the third game.

She still had to see off a Kvitova break opportunity in the next but held comfortably, her mental demons put to bed.

Kvitova would not surrender, saving three break points before again forcing Osaka to serve it out. Osaka managed it on the second attempt for a famous victory.

Bayern signs US defender, Richards

By News desk

The German football giant, FC Bayern, has secured the services of United State (US) youngster, Chris Richards, for four and half years.

Richards, who initially came to Bayern on loan from FC Dallas half a year ago, inked a four-and-a-half-year contract with the German record champions through 30 June 2023.

The centre-back joined the Campus last summer and played for the U-19s under the watchful eyes of Sebastian Hoeneß.

Richards, who has played 21 times for USA U-20 and scored two goal, is strong in the air, was born in Birmingham, Alabama, learned the trade mainly at the youth academy of MLS club FC Dallas.

FC Bayern Campus director, Jochen Sauer, while reacting over acquisition of the 18-year-old defender, expressed delight that his inclusion would boost the team’s chances in future.

Sauer said: “We are delighted we and FC Dallas have agreed on Chris’s transfer. Chris has given a good account of himself here over the last half year, and we’re confident he will continue to develop very well at FC Bayern. We see a lot of potential in him.”

Earlier, the defender described the contract as realization of a dream he had nursed while as a kid learning the game.

“I always dreamed of playing at a big club in Europe one day. Now I’ve actually joined one of the top clubs. I’m really very happy,” the 18-year-old said after inking the contract.

The Texans are one of the few pro clubs in the US to train their own youth players. “FC Dallas stand for the excellent promotion of talent and are ideal partners for us,” Jörg Wacker, FC Bayern München AG board member for internationalisation and strategy, said when the partnership was announced last spring.