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COMMONWEALTH GAMES 2018: ATHLETES INTENSIFY TRAINING IN ABUJA, LAGOS AND PH

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While most Nigerian citizens are in festive mood soaking the enjoyment of Christmas and New Year celebrations, the Ministry of Youth and Sports has revealed that athletes preparing for the Commonwealth Games are in various camps training for the competitions.

The Commonwealth Games are billed for April 2018.  The Ministry of Youth and Sports began its first phase of camping on December 17 in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja.

Boxers and players in table tennis and para table tennis are camping in Lagos, the weightlifters are in Abuja while Port Harcourt is hosting athletics and para pthletics.

Speaking on activities at the Brai Ayonote Boxing Gymnasium where the boxers are currently training, the camp Commandant Dr Segun Akinlotan said that a total of 32 boxers and four coaches led by Tony Konyegwachie will camp till January 16, 2018 for the first phase.

According to Akinlotan, the boxers are in high spirit. “The  boxers and officials are in high spirit. Training kit including track suits, T-shirts, slippers and knickers have been supplied to the boxers. Feeding is okay and the atmosphere is generally conducive.

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“By the end of the first phase of camping, the boxers will be reduced to 16 as the 2nd phase is billed to start from January 17th to 16th February 2018.”

Elsewhere at the  Nigerian Institute of Medical Research Yaba Lagos, 16 players including 8 para table tennis players, 8 able players and 14 officials are camped.

Camp Commandant Ms Mbora Ikana Mbora said the players train twice daily at the Knock-up hall of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos and are well kitted for training.

“Feeding is adequate and timely as supervised by the Medical team. Haruna Quadri and two other para players Faith Bazuaye and Tope Ogunsanya have already qualified for the games. We are targeting a podium appearance”, Mbora said.

In Abuja, a total of 12 Weightlifters comprising seven female and five male  are camping at Package B of the Abuja National Stadium.

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The Camp Chaperone Mrs Chinedu Ezeala said that the lifters have shown great sense of responsibility and discipline.

“The weightlifters have obeyed camp rules to the latter and have displayed a great sense of responsibility. We want to ensure a podium performance at the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Australia,” Ezeala stated.

The IAAF High Performance Center at the University of Port Harcourt is hosting 40 track and field athletes and nine Para athletes.

Camp Commandant and Assistant Director Elite Athletes Mrs Maria Wophill said athletes enjoyed a peaceful celebration on Christmas Day.

“We celebrated Christmas in camp and it was peaceful. There are no complaints on feeding.”

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Mrs Wophill spoke further on preparations to get the best athletes for the Commonwealth Games

“Our first trial comes up on January 15, 2018. It will be an open trial as athletes who are not in camp will be allowed to fight for qualification.

The second Phase of camping will commence immediately after the trials as we expect changes in times and performance.

Facilities here are of high standards so we also expect good performances from the athletes,” Wophil said.

 

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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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