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YUSSUF ALLI EXPLAINS WHY ELITE RUNNERS ARE ALWAYS IN FRONT CELLS AT ACCESS BANK LAGOS CITY MARATHON

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The General Manager of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon Yussuf Alli has clarified why some runners are placed in the front cell in marathons and road races.

Alli said athletes’ pedigree and time in previous races determine where they are placed.

“Insinuation that Kenyans, Ethiopians and other foreign nationals are favoured at the detriment of Nigerians is completely untrue. The front cell, which is for elite men and women runners are normally reserved for athletes who have done below 2 hours, 45 minutes, 00seconds.

“These are the people that are likely to win, they are not just foreigners, and they also include Nigerians. At the 2016 and 2017 editions, we had over  100 elite athletes from Nigeria, and for the 2018 edition, we are likely to have over 200 elite athletes from Nigeria,’’ said Alli.

The General Manager said it is equally false that Nigerians cannot win the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon or any other marathon in any parts of the world.

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“East African runners are not better than Nigerians, the only difference is that they train harder and work harder. Running for them is business and they sacrifice everything to be the best in the world. Our people must also imbibe this culture.”

Alli posited that the reason why we are not doing well today is because we are not investing in our talents, “the time that won the men race in the 2016 and 2017 editions of the Access Bank Lagos City

“Marathon was about two hours, 15 minutes. About 30 years ago, a Nigerian

Marathoner, Abass Muhammad was running that time. We also have other great runners who were running world class times but our refusal to invest in our talented athletes is responsible for the current decline.

“European, Americans, Japanese and even the Chinese have proved that the East African runners are beatable as they have beaten them in many of the world elite marathons,’’  Alli concluded.

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Athletics

Committees set up for Gombe Inter Secondary Schools Competition

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Gara Gombe’s firm firms agreement to upgrade Gombe University’s facilities

The chairman of the Main Organizing Committee of Gombe State Inter Secondary Schools Athletic Competition, Ahmed Shuaibu Gara Gombe has set up the supporting bodies for the maiden edition of the event.

  According to a press release, the Main Organizing Committee

 met at the Conference Hall of GOFCECON Hotel to prepare grounds for the hosting of the competition.

In a communique signed by Gara Gombe seven sub -committees were constituted as follows:

1.Technical, Ceremonial, Entertainment and Training

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a) Zainab Ishaku Adamu – Ministry of Youth and sports. Chairman

b) Sani Nuhu Abdullahi – NAATO.  Member

c) Isa Dauda Zambuk – GWG.  Member

d) Prince Simon Ayuba – GWG. Secretary

2. Media and Publicity

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a) Mal Haruna Zakari — GAA. Chairman

b) Uzor Odigbo — GWG. Member

c) Abraham Fashakin- North East Times. Member

d) Yakubu Maikudi – NTA Gombe.  Secretary

3. Accreditation and Security

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a) ASP Jauro Usman – NPF.  Chairman

b) SP I Jerry Ketos Turawa- Gostec.  Member

c) ASC Ishaku Ibrahim – NCDC. Secretary 

4. Accommodation, Transportation and Logistics Committee 

a) Mal Ali Doho – Ministry of Education . Chairman

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b) Mr Adamu Tanko – NAPPS.  Member

c) Obehi Kingspin -NAPPS.  Secretary

5. Medical and Welfare

a) Mohammed Abubakar Ahmed. Ministry of Health- Chairman

b) Red Cross – Member

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c) Stephen Agboh – NAPPS. Secretary

6. General Duties

a) Ahmed Shuaibu Gara Gombe – CEO. GWG. Chairman

b) Mal Musa Garba – GAA Secretary

7. Secretariat  

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a) Ibrahim Audu – Ministry of Education. Chairman

b) Mohammed Musa Baba – Northeast Times. Member

c) Haruna Isah Kalshingi – GWG.  Secretary.

He noted that capacity training would be compulsory for all secondary schools games masters prior to the competition.

In addition to the secondary schools in Gombe State, invitation will be extended to a private and public secondary schools across the six  states of the North East zone.

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There will be free accommodation and feeding for the schools that registered for the invitational relay. The competition is  categorised to feature cadets, youths and 65  under 20 registered schools and approximately.

In all, it is approximated that 2,367 school students will be involved.

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Athletics

Gara Gombe sets up committee for Gombe Inter Schools Athletics Championship

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Former chairman of Gombe State Football Association, Ahmed Shuaibu Gara-Gombe has inaugurated the Main Organising Committee for the Gombe State Inter Secondary Schools Athletics Championship.

Last year at the primary schools edition, over a thousand pupils featured in what was the maiden edition sponsored by Ahmed Shuaibu-Gara Gombe who is also the chairman of the Gombe State Athletics Association. It was held at the Pantami Stadium.

The maiden competition had boys and girls from 47 schools in attendance. On Friday, in fulfilment of a pledge to raise the bar, the organising committee was set up  at the Gombe State University as part of private investment in sports development.

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Former 800m world champion Pierre-Ambroise Bosse banned for 16 months

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France’s former 800m world champion Pierre-Ambroise Bosse has received a 16-month ban from the French Anti-Doping Agency after missing three drug tests in the space of nine months. Bosse announced he was quitting athletics late last year due to recurrent injuries.

The sanction comes after the 31-year-old missed three drug tests between September 2022 and June 2023. Bosse had announced his retirement in December, seven months before the Paris 2024 Olympics. He had received notifications of breaches three times, with the period coinciding with his efforts to return to a high-level athletic performance despite grappling with a hamstring injury.

The initial breach occurred on 25 September 2022, when an anti-doping controller arrived at his residence to conduct a test within the athlete’s scheduled time slot, but Bosse was not available. He told French news outlet L’Équipe: “I was one foot in training, one foot on holiday.”

Bosse, who was eliminated at semi-final stage of the Tokyo Olympics, was enduring a thigh problem at the time. Following surgery in December 2022, Bosse embarked on a race against time with the aspiration of competing in his fourth Olympic Games in Paris.

On 1 May 2023, authorities tried to contact him again, but were unable to reach him during a time when he was with family in Nantes. “I wasn’t worried at that time because I had forgotten the previous one and so I thought I only had one. At that moment, I gave up completely.”

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Then a month later, a controller returned to his residence for another scheduled check, but the athlete was evidently absent. He was subsequently informed a few weeks later of a likely two-year suspension for failing to fulfill such obligations. 

Despite feeling dejected and shocked, Bosse attempted to defend himself by attributing the second violation to an issue with the absence of a doorbell.

“I made three mistakes, I accept. It’s true that I haven’t always been the best student when it comes to taking care of my location but, until then, it had never played any tricks on me. I know I should have been more serious but I would like to point out that I have been in the AFLD target group since 2012 and they have all my analyses.”

The 31-year-old was unable to recuperate following surgery on his right thigh last year and had been out of competition since April 2023.

Before his injury troubles he most notably secured fourth place in the 800m at the Rio Games back in 2016, and has yet to recapture the form that led to his crowning as the world champion over 800m in London in 2017. Bosse also got his hands on bronze at the European Championships in both 2012 and 2018.

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Since leaving his beloved sport behind, the Frenchman has starred in two reality TV shows in his homeland and focussed on his association combining sport and ecology which he launched with his friend and former international team-mate Bryan Cantero.

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