Nigeria makes Commonwealth Games history after silver, bronze medals

By SportDesk,

Nigeria made history by registering its name at podium of XXI Commonwealth Games by winning silver and bronze in women’s 4X100m and 4X400m relays at Carrara Stadium on Saturday.

In the 4×400 metres, Nigeria finished second with a time of 3:25.29 behind Jamaica’s 3:24.00 while Botswana came third finishing with 3:26.86.

In the keenly contested final, England came fourth finishing 3:27.21 while the host, Australia came fifth finishing 3:27.43.

Nigeria’s Patience Okon-George, Glory Nathaniel, Praise Idamadudu and Yinka Ajayi did the nation proud at the event.

In a related development, Nigeria also got bronze in the women’s 4X100m relay behind England and Jamaica.

Joy Udo-Gabriel, Blessing Okagbare, Tobi Amusan and Rosemary Chukwuma represented the nation.

Chukwuma anchored the race at 42.75 behind England 42.46 and Jamaica’s 42.52.

Murphy Adaji, coach, Kids N Play, an FCT athletics club that produced Chukwuma said: “I give God the glory for her performance.

“Chukwuma could not participate in women’s 100m because they said she had not acclimatized but God still shows His greatness in 4X100m relay.

“If Nigeria continues to look out for genuine talents like this, we will soon get back to glorious days,” he said.

Nigeria has already got nine Gold, eight silver and six bronze in the fiesta which will end on Sunday. The Games started April 4.

Nigerian athletes win Commonwealth Game gold medals

By SportDesk,

More successes have been recorded for Nigeria after a sprinter, Oluwatobilola Amusan, won Women’s 100 metres hurdles gold during ongoing Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast, Australia.

Amusan picked the medal in a time of 12.68 seconds after running past Jamaica’s duo of Danielle Willimas and Yanique Thompson who finished on 12.78 and 12.97 seconds respectively.

Team Nigeria has shot itself into 8th position on the 2018 Commonwealth Games medals table with eight gold, five silver and five bronze.

In another development,  Team Nigeria’s Odunayo Adekuoroye also defended her 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medal at the ongoing event at Gold Coast, Australia.

Adekuoroye defeated India’s Pooja Dhanda 7-5 points in the women’s 57kg wrestling freestyle event to win gold for Nigeria.

The win ensured the four time-African champion avenged her defeat in the hands of Dhanda who defeated her at the 2017 Pro Wrestling League in India.

With this development, Adekuroye has become the first Nigerian female wrestler to win a gold medal consecutively at the Commonwealth Games.

In another development, 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist, Blessing Oborududu picked up gold for Team Nigeria in her event.

Oborududu, an eight-time Africa champion, came from behind to defeat Canada’s Danielle Lappage in the women’s 68kg wrestling freestyle event on points (4-3).

In the freestyle male, Captain Amas Daniel won his bronze medal match against Canada’s Vincent De Marinis, to make it his second bronze medal at a Commonwealth Games.

Meanwhile, Soso Tamarau lost his bronze medal match to Cyprus Alexios Kaouslidis 2-1, while South Africa’s Martins Erasmus won the gold medal.

Nigeria Wrestling team has so far won two gold, one silver and three bronze medals.

Team Nigeria is currently placed 8th on the medals table with eight gold, five silver and five bronze.

Nigerians clear four gold medals at 2018 Commonwealth Games

By NewsDesk,

Four of Nigerian own, Ibrahim Abdulazeez, Roland Ezuruike, Esther Onyema and Ndidi Nwosu, made it a clean sweep of gold medals for Team Nigeria in the Para-Powerlifting event on Tuesday at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

At the on going game, Abdulazeez emerged tops in the men’s heavyweight category with a lift of 191.9kg to finish ahead of a field of 10 contestants, While silver medal was won by Yee Khie Jong from Malaysia who lifted 188.7kg, while India’s Sachin Chandhary won bronze with a 181.0kg effort.

Earlier on Tuesday, the trio of Roland Ezuruike, Esther Oyema and Ndidi Nwosu all won gold in their various categories.

Ezuruike was the first Nigerian to win a gold medal at the games in the men’s lightweight final. He won silver at the last edition of the games.

In the women’s lightweight category, Oyema took the gold and also set a new world record of 141.6kg to smash the old record of 126 kg also set by her in Glasgow, Scotland on Aug. 2, 2014.

Also, in the women’s heavyweight class, Nwosu beat other contestants to win the gold.

Abdulazeez’s latest feat has now taken Team Nigeria to four gold and four silver medals and in ninth position in the overall medal standings.

The games which began on April 4 will end on April 15.

Nigerian Ogunlewe makes fourth position during 100 metres men final in Australia

By SportDesk,

Nigerian sprinter, Seye Ogunlewe came fourth place and narrowly missed out of finishing in a medal position in the men’s 100 metres final of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, taking place in Australia.

Ogunlewe placed fourth on Monday after recording a personal best time of 10.19 secs in a photo-finish with Jamaican athlete,Yohan Blake, who also posted 10.19 secs.

However, it was Blake who was given third-place and the bronze medal after a much-deliberated review by the officials.

The other Nigerian in the final, Enoch Adegoke, finished seventh with a time of 10.35 secs.

Akani Simbine from South Africa won the 100m gold with a time of 10.03 secs, while his compatriot Henricho Bruintjies won silver with a time of 10.17 secs.

With a packed crowd at Carrara Stadium roaring, Simbine blazed down the straight and crossed ahead of team mate Henricho Bruintjies in 10.03 seconds.

Michelle Lee-Ahye, right, wins the first ever Women’s 100m GOLD for Trinidad & Tobago
Blake struggled for balance after a messy start and finished with the bronze in a time of 10.19 seconds, after qualifying fastest with a time of 10.06 in the semi-finals.

“I was stumbling all the way,” the 28-year-old told reporters ruefully. I just didn’t recover from it. It was a pretty easy race for me to win because I’ve been feeling good.

“It was just, never (going) to happen today, I don’t know. I’m a bit disappointed because I’ve been feeling good, I’ve been running good.”

Blake’s compatriot and athletics great Usain Bolt congratulated his former team mate and Simbine on Twitter.

“Keep putting in the work. You know your journey.”

The path to gold was made smoother for Simbine, with England runner Adam Gemili, a 4x100m relay gold medallist at the London world championships, pulling out before the final with a thigh injury.

Michelle-Lee Ahye held off a two-pronged Jamaican challenge to claim the women’s 100m gold for Trinidad and Tobago in 11.14.

Ahye edged Christania Williams (11.21), with her Jamaican team mate Gayon Evans taking bronze.

World and Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya kicked off her bid for a Commonwealth double with a comfortable win in the 1,500m heats in four minutes and 05.86 seconds.

In another development, Nigeria’s table tennis team defeated England 3-2 in the men’s team semi-finals at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

it was reported that the team would face India in the final.

Segun Toriola lost Nigeria’s first match 3-2 (14-12, 9-11, 7-11,13-11,7-11) to Paul Drinkhall, but in match 2, Bode Abiodun recovered from two sets down to beat Liam Pitchford 3-2 (8-11,9-11-4,13-11,11-5).

The pair of Olajide Omotayo and Segun Toriola beat the duo of Samuel Walker and Paul Drinkhall 3-1 (2-11, 11-7,12-10,11-7) in match 3.

Although Olajide Omotayo lost 3-2 (11-9, 4-11, 8-11, 11-9, 5-11) to Liam Pitchford in match 4, Bode Abiodun sealed Nigeria’s place in the final by beating Samuel Walker in match 5 with a nervy 3-2 (8-11, 11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 11-8) win.

The Nigerian had defeated host Australia 3-1 in the quarter-finals, as well as Belize 3-0 and Malaysia 3-1 in the group games.

Bjoerndalen ends glittering career

Norwegian biathlete Ole Einar Bjoerndalen announces retirement, winner of eight Olympic gold medals and 20 world titles in a glittering career spanning 25 years.
“My motivation is unstoppable, you know that, and I feel that it (biathlon) is just as much fun today – I would have liked to have had another year, but this is my last season,” Bjoerndalen told a news conference as he struggled to hold back the tears.

Known in Norway as “the King of Biathlon”, Bjoerndalen thanked his family and the Norwegian people and revealed that he had experienced several episodes of heart palpitations over the last year.

“I responded well (to treatment) and I got very good help form my medical team, but I was always trying to catch up,” he said of his final season in which he finished 43rd in the World Cup and missed out on selection for the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Bjoerndalen, 44, won 13 Olympics medals and was the most successful winter Olympian of all time until Norwegian cross-country skier Marit Bjoergen broke his record by taking her tally to 15 in Pyeongchang.

Widely regarded as one of Norway’s greatest athletes, Bjoerndalen married Belarusian biathlete and 2018 Olympic relay gold medallist Darya Domracheva in 2016.

He plans to take some time out before deciding what to do next.

Bolt takes football as next sporting, agrees to sign club deal

By SportDesk,

World famous 100 meter sprinter, Usain Bolt, has disclosed that he had agreed to sign for a football club, saying he would be going on trail with Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund in March.

 

Bolt is a lifelong Manchester United fan, and was due to have a trial with Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund next in March, had had training with South African side, Mamelodi Sundowns in January.

“It’s something that I want to do,” Bolt told the Daily Express in January. “In March we’re going to do trials with Dortmund and that will determine what I do with that career, which way it goes.

“If they say I’m good, and that I need a bit of training, I’ll do it.

Bolt, 31, retired from athletics last summer after a glittering career in which he won eight Olympic gold medals.

He has always spoken of his desire to play football once his sprinting career was over, and on Sunday he tweeted to say “I’ve signed for a football team! Find out which one this Tuesday at 8am GMT.”

“It makes me nervous. I don’t get nervous but this is different, this is football now. It’ll take time to adjust but once I play a few times I’ll get used to it. It was the same when I started track and field.

“ I was nervous for a while until I started getting used to the crowd, people and everyone around and it falls into place,

“One of my biggest dreams is to sign for Manchester United. If Dortmund say I’m good enough, I’ll crack on and train hard.

“I’ve spoken to Alex Ferguson and I told him he needs to put in a good word. He told me if I get fit and ready; he will see what he can do.”

Sport commission former DG expresses satisfaction over team Nigeria at Pyeongchang Games

By NewsDesk,

The  National Sports Commission former Director-General and Chef de Mission to 2018 Winter Olympics, Gbenga Elegbeleye, has expressed satisfaction on how  impressive performance of team Nigeria that made its debut in the Pyeongchang Games.

However,  Nigeria’s Bobsled and Skeleton teams participated in the Winter Olympics for the first time at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games in South Korea and trio of Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga, at the event, took 20th position in women’s category.

Elegbeleye, described the performance of the athletes as great skills exhibition and that being among the 20 best in the world in bobsled and skeleton was amazing, considering how and when the girls started preparations for the Winter Olympic Games.

The former DG, who spoke from South Korea on Friday, noted that Jamaica started bobsled close to 30 years ago and that the country’s team were unable to finish the race in their debut participation.

“You can remember that Reggae legend and music icon, Bob Marley composed a record for the Jamaican bobsled team (cool running) then.

“The Nigerian girls did not only finish their four races, they recorded their personal bests in two of the races,’’ Elegbeleye said.

The former director-general of the National Sports Commission, added that the Nigerian athletes were the centre of attraction in the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.

“South Korea, the host of the Games with some of the world leaders and the IOC President, Thomas Bach, said the hoisting of Nigeria’s flag at the competition was a trailblazer.

“The Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, had a special session with the team. It shows Nigeria is a country of talents and achievers.

“I hope this will spur other young Nigerians to aspire for greater heights,’’ Elegbeleye said.

He stated that the participation of Nigeria in the games was also a good diplomatic feat and that sports participation was greatest tool for diplomacy in building world peace and global unity.

“It shows that sports are a unifying factor and certainly what politics is unable to achieve, sports will surely do.

“This is demonstrated by the Korean people as both the North and South Korea presented a joint team to the Games,’’ Elegbeleye said.

It was gathered that the athletes had at long last attained their goal at the Games, which is to raise awareness and possibilities of Nigerian and African participants at future Winter Olympics Games.

Nigerian Pyeongchang winter games team receive encouragement after step behind gold medalist

By SportDesk,

Behind gold medalist, Nigeria’s women’s bobsled team finished with the wooden spoon Wednesday but left with their heads held high after an emotional Olympic debut in the crackpot winter pursuit.

The team finished 20th in Pyeongchang, more than seven seconds behind gold medallists Germany in a sport where success and failure is measured in hundredths of a second.

 

But try telling that to Nigerian driver Seun Adigun and partner Ngozi Onwumere after a landmark appearance, cheered on by their families and a vocal pocket of Nigerian fans.

Adigun, after bumping off several walls in a ragged final run, said she was  amazing and as well overwhelmed with joy over idea of knowing that history was made after everything her team had to do ensure the goal was actualized.

“This was just one of those days that you can’t really describe,” she added. “Full of all kinds of emotions  full of relief, full of history.”

No African nation has won a winter medal but the Nigeria women plan to try again at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

“By God’s grace you will see Nigeria in Beijing,” said the Texas-based Adigun, after failing to improve on Tuesday’s personal best.

“We did everything we could. People are super-stoked back in Nigeria. We just pray all of our resilience does foster into some future athletes.”

Onwumere, who was a late replacement after Akuoma Omeoga fell ill overnight, added: “I can only express myself with tears, just because it’s been a long road and finally we’ve completed it. I can only imagine how it is back home in Nigeria.”

The Germans won gold after Mariama Jamanka steered her partner Lisa Buckwitz their country’s first success in the event since 2006.

There was a gulf in class between Nigeria and Jamaica and the top three of Germany, the United States and Canada. But it mattered little to the tailenders.

Thirty years after the Jamaican men’s bobsleigh team took the world by storm at the 1988 Calgary Olympics, it was the turn of a hardy trio of women from the tiny Caribbean island to launch launching themselves down an icy chute at breakneck speeds.

“Cool Runnings” the re-run ended Wednesday with Jamaica finishing 19th as they became the first women from their country to compete at the Winter Olympics.

“The brakes broke actually so that didn’t help on the way down,” revealed driver Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian.

“It wasn’t necessarily the result we were looking for but we’re pretty perseverant and resilient for a small island and we hope more of our islanders come out for winter sports.”

Russia on second doping case at Pyeongchang Winter Games

By NewsDesk, with Agency report,

The Pyeongchang Winter Games second doping case overshadowed another strong sporting performance from Norway on Monday with Russia again thrown into spotlight for negative reasons.

Norway’s Havard Lorentzen triumphed in speed skating, Norway won the large hill team ski-jumping, and Germany and Canada shared gold in the two-man bobsleigh but Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) medallist, Alexandr Krushelnitckii, been tested positive for meldonium would instead be the focus for the International Olympic Committee.

Krushelnitckii, who won bronze in mixed doubles curling last week with his wife, faces a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing which could affect his delegation’s chances of being able to march under the Russian flag at the closing ceremony on Sunday.

“If confirmed this will be taken into account (by the implementation panel) along with many, many other factors. There are several ifs along the way before we get there,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said.

The panel will report to the IOC executive board, which is set on Saturday to decide whether or not to lift the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee – imposed in December over doping practices in the country and at the Sochi 2014 Games.

If lifted, the 168 OAR athletes at the Games, who marched under the Olympic flag at the opening ceremony, could display the Russian flag and wear Russian uniforms at the closing ceremony.

Krushelnitckii is the second athlete to have a positive test announced in Pyeongchang after Japanese short track speed skater Kei Saito tested positive out-of-competition for the diuretic and masking agent acetazolamide.

Meanwhile, the Netherlands suffered a rare speed skating defeat in the men’s 500 metres which was won by Lorentzen. Ronald Mulder finished the top-ranked Dutchman in seventh.

“It’s time for Norway to step up on the top of the podium again,” Lorenzten said of his country’s first speed skating gold over any distance since 1998. “It feels so good to do that today.”

Germany’s Nico Walther and brakeman Christian Poser led going into the final runs of the two-man bob but faded to fourth as Canadian pilot Justin Kripps and Germany’s Francesco Friedrich ended in a dead heat.

There was also a split gold in 1998 and in 1968 Italy won gold alone on the basis of having a faster single run than West Germany following a cumulative tie.

Norway won the large hill ski-jumping team event to end the day atop the medal table with 11 golds, nine silver and eight bronze. Germany are second (10-6-4) and Canada are up to third (6-5-6).

In action elsewhere, the United States crushed Finland 5-0 in the semi-finals of the women’s ice hockey and will meet Canada, winners over OAR by the same score, in Thursday’s final.

The nations have met in four out of five women’s finals since the event was introduced in 1998.

Organizers also revealed 2,000 Olympic volunteers had not turned up to the Games and the number of norovirus cases has risen by eight to 283.

28 Russian athletics escape life ban over doping allegation

By SportDesk,

The  Court of Arbitration for Sport has lifted life bans imposed 28 Russian athletes and that could still take part in Winter Olympics which would be taking place Pyeongchang, South Korea, since they have been cleared off alleged doping case raised after 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

However, the sport’s top court ruled that there was insufficient evidence that the 28 athletes out of the 43 that sought the court’s help, had benefited from a system of state-sponsored doping at the last Winter Games, hosted by Russia in Sochi.

CAS said in its judgement: “In 28 cases, the evidence collected was found to be insufficient to establish that an anti-doping rule violation (ADRV) was committed by the athletes concerned.”

It added: “The evidence put forward by the IOC in relation to this matter did not have the same weight in each individual case.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said he was “very glad” about the ruling which fell just eight days before the 2018 Olympics begin.

The International Olympic Committee has banned Russia as a team from competing at Pyeongchang over the doping scandal, although 169 Russian athletes have been cleared to take part as neutrals.

The Olympic body reacted to the CAS verdict by warning in a statement that “not being sanctioned does not automatically confer the privilege of an invitation” to the Games.

Forty-two Russians — bobsleighers, cross-country skiers, competitors in the skeleton and ice hockey players — appealed against the bans at CAS.

Meanwhile CAS lifted the life bans of another 11 Russians, but barred them from competing at the Pyeongchang Olympics that start on February 9.

Among those whose life bans were scrapped is Alexander Legkov, 34, who won gold in Sochi in the 50-kilometre freestyle cross-country skiing event and silver in the 4×10 kilometre relay, only to have his results annulled over the doping allegations.

Recently,  extraordinary mass hearing of Russian athletes held less than three weeks before the Olympics begin forced CAS to temporarily move their compact headquarters in Lausanne to a large conference centre in Geneva.

The hearings at the world’s top sports court were as a result of allegations of a vast state-sponsored doping programme contained in the report into Sochi authored by sports law professor Richard McLaren for the World Anti-Doping Agency.

His explosive findings laid out the workings of the programme,  from the use of secret state agents to passing urine samples out of testing labs through mouse holes.

But for Russian deputy prime minister Vitaly Mutko, CAS’s rulings proved Moscow never orchestrated a state-sponsored doping programme.

“One can say that there wasn’t any system or any sort of manipulation at the Sochi Olympic Games, we’ve always said that but today the Court of Arbitration for Sport issued such a ruling,” said Mutko, who himself is appealing to CAS over his life ban.

He was banned after being singled out in McLaren’s report.

Many of the details about Russia’s alleged state-supported doping programme were first uncovered by a groundbreaking German investigation.

meanwhile, news of Thursday’s CAS verdict was warmly welcomed in Moscow.

“We are very glad for our athletes,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

“The information about the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport proves that energetic work to stand up for our rights in court and elsewhere — it is justified, it can be effective and it should continue,” Peskov added.

“And we are hoping that this work will certainly continue.”

He said it was unclear whether the 28 who had their appeals upheld would now compete in South Korea.

“It is a difficult question,” the Kremlin spokesman added, noting Russian officials would continue talking to the International Olympic Committee.

Those Russians already cleared to take part in the Games will do so under the designation “Olympic Athlete from Russia”.