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How Lagos Athletes Propelled Team Nigeria to Successful Outing

first_imgAll Africa GamesWhen the story of Team Nigeria’s second position outing at the recently concluded Rabat 2019 All Africa Games in Morocco is being told, the place of athletes from Lagos State and the contributions they made in the success story would not be easily forgotten.Lagos State has always been the ‘Centre of Excellence’ in Nigerian sports because the state has been known for its sports development programmes , a situation that has made the state as the grooming ground for athletes for national and international competitions. Nigeria’s Under-19 cricket team, the Junior Yellow Green, celebrating their victory in South African…recently Right from the government of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu down to the present administration of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the development of sports and the welfare of athletes have always been in the hearts of the state governors who usually give all necessary support to the administrators saddled with the responsibility of managing sports in the state.There is no doubt that the gains of International Badminton Classics, the monthly Boxing Hall of Fame Show, the ITTF Nigeria Open Challenge Plus and numerous developmental school sports programmes of the Lagos State Sports Commission are adding values not only in sports in the state but Nigeria as a whole.This was evident in what happened at the Rabat Games last month with the contributions some of the athletes from Lagos State made to the total number of medals hauled by Team Nigeria to finish second at the continental championship.Anuoluwapo Opeyori and Godwin Olofia’s inspired Nigerian badminton team won a team gold medal in Morocco, the first to be won by Nigeria when the Games started. Anuoluwapo overall won 2 gold and 1 silver medal, while another Lagos athlete, Godwin Olofia won 1 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze to the kitty of Team Nigeria. In the men’s doubles, the duo of Anuoluwapo and Godwin won silver medal, while in the women’s singles Lagos’ Dorcas Adesokan and Sofiat Obanishola won silver and bronze medals respectively. Dorcas Adesokan paired Deborah Ukeh to settle for silver medal in the women’s doubles event.Anuoluwapo is Nigeria’s and Africa’s number one in badminton, while Godwin is rated number three in Nigeria. The pair of Anuoluwapo and Godwin are Africa’s number one in the men’s doubles.Two Team Lagos boxers, Afeez Osoba (male) and Ayisat Oriyomi (female) representing Nigeria at 2019 All Africa Games won 1 silver and 1 bronze medal in the 69kg and 51kg categories respectively.Afeez Osoba was a gold medallist in 69kg event in the last Abuja 2018 National Sports Festival. He is currently in the second position in African boxing. Ayisat Oriyomi, on the other hand, is a gold medallist at the Abuja 2018 National Festival, while she is in the third position on the continent. The record shows that Oriyomi was two times Governor’s Belt winner in 2013 and 2018. Governor’s Belt is an annual boxing championship usually held every Boxing Day to determine Lagos boxing champions in both the female and male categories every year. Oriyomi also won gold medal at the Eko 2012 National Sports Festival.In weightlifting, Adijat  Adenike Olarinoye, a Lagos athlete, won 2 gold and 1 silver medals in the 55kg (Clean and Jack respectively). She broke the All Africa Games record. Olarinoye has been an outstanding lifter, she won 3 silver medals at the year 2018 National Sports Festival (NSF)  held in Abuja (snatch, clean and Jack and as well as Total in 55kg).The same success story was recorded in table tennis where unfavoured Lagos’ Olajide Omotayo, who was representing Team Nigeria, conquered three of the best players in Africa in the table tennis event to be crowned the champion.From the quarterfinal stage, Omotayo worked his way to the final beating two former champions – Egypt’s Ahmed Saleh and Nigeria’s Segun Toriola – in the quarterfinal and semifinal stages.The final produced the best of Africa with Aruna Quadri going up against Omotayo and the fans were treated to an exciting match.Omotayo threw caution to the wind and raced to the lead with a 3-0 (13-11, 11-9, 16-14) but experienced Quadri cut the lead to 3-2 with 8-11, 13-15 wins in the fourth and fifth games.The sixth match was a display of energy and skills and it was the younger Omotayo that scaled through with 12-10 win to claim the second gold medals for Nigeria in the table tennis event of the multi-sports fiesta.Executive Chairman of Lagos State Sports Commission, Dr. Kweku Tandoh, who alongside some top management staff of the commission including the Director General Oluwatoyin Gafar, were in Rabat to watch proceedings of the All Africa Games. He commended Anuoluwapo and Omotayo for their ‘golden’ performance. He said they are not only good ambassadors of Nigeria but they also made Lagos State proud.“Jide Omotayo, a player groomed and developed through the Lagos State sports system, has shown that with determination, commitment and discipline, you can get to the top. We are proud of him and wish him the very best,” Tandoh said.“Anu has continued to blossom in his badminton career. A product of Lagos State and one of the success stories of the annual Lagos International Badminton Classics, Anu’s focus, humility and discipline has seen him rise to the top of African Badminton. For him, I am sure that this is just a stepping stone to greater success in his career,” the Executive Chairman said.Lagos State Sports Commission, known for its proactive approach to the issue of development of athletes through the approval of the governor, used the long holiday of the students in the state to organise a Lagos Sports Summer Camp. The idea behind the camp, according to Gafar was to introduce the chosen sports (Athletics, Table-tennis, Basketball, Taekwondo, Judo, Swimming, Squash and Volleyball) to students who have shown interest, for them to make use of the opportunity to become future stars not only for Lagos but also for Nigeria.“After the camping exercise, some identified talents will be selected for further coaching and mentoring,” Gafar said.Like the popular saying that ‘the Future is Now’, Lagos recognises that to better the future, all hands must be on deck to prepare for the future now.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

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Wisconsin ready to make Camp Randall debut

first_imgRunning back John Clay led Wisconsin with 123 rushing yards on 17 carries against UNLV, while also contributing two touchdowns. As a team, the Badgers ran for 278 yards and will hope to duplicate that success against a weak San Jose St. run defense.[/media-credit]Fresh off a loss to top-ranked Alabama, it just doesn’t get any easier for San Jose State – at least that’s what No. 11 Wisconsin hopes.UW enters its home opener 1-0 after defeating a pesky UNLV team on the road last weekend. Up only 17-14 at halftime, the Badgers rode a 24-0 third quarter en route to a 41-21 win over the Rebels.Despite the 20-point win, which featured a dominant performance by the UW defensive line and classic Wisconsin running game, the Badgers found plenty to work on during the week. While the offensive line paved the way for 278 rushing yards against UNLV, guard John Moffitt wasn’t completely satisfied with the line’s play.“A big thing was just finishing plays better,” he said. “I think we left a lot of yards out on the field, I think that was a real point of emphasis.”“I agree with Moff completely, be it up front, we can do a much better job; the backs can do a better job, the quaterbacks, the receivers, you can go right down the line” offensive coordinator Paul Chryst said. ” We did some good things, but there’s a lot of room for improvement and that’s what we’ve got to do.”One thing the Badgers will be certain to focus on is eliminating turnovers. Quarterback Scott Tolzien threw an interception returned for a touchdown against the Rebels, and receiver Nick Toon had a costly fumble in the red zone which led to another UNLV score. Aside from the turnovers though, the UW offense rolled along, with Tolzien finishing an effective 15-of-20.The highlight of the night was the effectiveness of the running game. UW predictably went with a ground-first approach, running the ball on 12 of 14 plays in its first drive. Junior John Clay led the way with 123 yards and two touchdowns, with backups Montee Ball and James White proving more than capable of spelling the 2009 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year.“The Big Ten’s a bruising conference, you’re going to need multiple backs, because guys are going to get banged up,” Tolzien said of UW’s backs. “You’ve got to have that next man mentality, next guy in, you don’t miss a beat.”Alabama gashed San Jose State for 265 rushing yards, a good sign the Badgers may stay on the ground when possible.On the defensive side, head coach Bret Bielema said sophomore linebacker Mike Taylor will start Saturday, after missing the opener due to knee rehab. Taylor tore his ACL last season against Iowa, cutting his promising freshman season short.While Taylor will return, fellow sophomore linebacker Chris Borland will not start, though Bielema said the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year could still make it into the game. Borland injured his shoulder in the third quarter of the UNLV game.The Badgers’ pass rush and run defense looked to be in top form against the Rebels, racking up four sacks and helping to hold UNLV to 12 yards of offense in the first half. While the secondary wasn’t tested often early in the game, both of the Rebels’ offensive touchdowns came through the air.“We’ve just got to improve on our fundamentals still,” defensive backs coach Chris Ash said. “Just improve on our knowledge of situations, like the red zone, sudden change situations – we gave up touchdowns in both those situations.”The defense may not be tested through the air much this week either. San Jose State runs a pistol offense, a variation of the shotgun, which favors the run as opposed to the pass. Essentially an extended I formation, the tailback may line up as far back as nine yards behind the line of scrimmage. Nevada used the pistol offense to lead the nation in rushing last season.“[Against] Alabama, the first series, [SJSU] went right down the field,” Bielema said. “It’s something we know we’re going to have to get a feel for as the game goes on.”While SJSU did manage to drive the field against Alabama, all the Spartans could manage was a field goal. The Crimson Tide held the Spartans to 174 total yards in the 48-3 Alabama victory.Although the Badgers only have that one game to assess the Spartans on film – San Jose State just started using the pistol offense this season – it’s better than nothing.“You can get a look. Alabama has a lot of good players, so it’s good tape to watch,” senior linebacker Blake Sorenson said. “We don’t have the personnel that Alabama does, so we’ve got to do some things that are different.”Provided Wisconsin eliminates its turnovers and can keep the offense rolling, the Badgers could win their 15th consecutive home opener and run their regular season win streak to 27 against non-conference opponents.last_img read more

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