Nigeria’s medal chase ends as Enekwechi, women relay team crash in Tokyo

Nigeria’s search for more medals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games did not yield any fruit yesterday as a shot putter, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi, and the women’s 4×100 meters relay team could not make the podium.

Nigeria had earlier in the competition won a silver medal through wrestler, Blessing Oborodudu and long jumper, Ese Brume.

Followers of the events in Tokyo always knew that it would take a miracle for Enekwechi and the relay girls to add to Nigeria’s medals due to their low ranking among the contestants.

Enekwechi was eliminated in the final round of the men’s shot put after throwing 19.74 meter to finish last in the 12-man contest, while the relay team could not go beyond the second preliminary round of the 4×100 meter.

Yesterday, Nigeria’s ambassador to Japan, Abubakar Moriki Husaini, hosted Team Nigeria in his residence in appreciation of their efforts at the Games.

Ambassador Husaini, in the company of his staff, thanked the contingent, especially the medalists, for making the country proud during the Olympics 2020.

Speaking at the event, Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, expressed his delight at the support received from the Nigerian Embassy in Japan, just as he thanked the athletes for their exploits in Tokyo.

He said, “I have to sincerely thank all the athletes and officials that have worked assiduously to make Team Nigeria a success. To compete and win medals at the Olympics is a great honor in the country of over 200 million people.

The Federal Government of Nigeria is proud of you all, but let me quickly add that the Ministry of Youths and Sports Development will take care of the treatment of Enoch Adegoke, Blessing Oborodudu, Oluwatobiloba Amusan, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi and Usheoritse Itsekiri plus any of the athletes that are nursing any injury.”…

Ben Whittaker and Pat McCormack wins secure boxing medals

Whittaker edged a 3-2 split decision win against Brazil’s Keno Machado to reach the light-heavyweight last four.

McCormack, meanwhile, beat Uzbekistan’s Bobo Baturov via a 4-1 split decision to reach the welterweight semi-final, where he faces Ireland’s Aidan Walsh.

It means both Britons will leave Tokyo with at least a bronze medal.

There could be more medals in boxing for Britain, with Caroline Dubois one win away from securing one of them after a split-decision win against USA’s Rashida Ellis to reach the women’s lightweight quarter-finals.

Whittaker, from West Bromwich, will return to the ring on Sunday to fight for a place in the gold medal round.

“It was difficult, you never want to look too far ahead but I can’t help myself,” Whittaker Said.

“The people on my side of the draw are big swingers – I’m a confident, arrogant lad but I won’t lie – when I came out my belly was doing flips, my legs were gone, but as soon as the bell went it went away.

“It doesn’t matter if it was split or unanimous – a win’s a win.”

Whittaker now has his sights set on returning home with an Olympic title, adding: “I want to come back with the gold medal and become the mayor of Wolverhampton and call all the shots.”

Okagbare, Nwokocha advance to 100m semi-finals

For the first time since 2012, two Nigerian athletes will be running in the semifinals of the women’s 100m after Blessing Okagbare and Nzubechi Grace Nwokocha qualified from their respective heats Friday in Tokyo, Japan.

Nwokocha had to run a new personal best of 11.00 seconds to secure her qualification to the semis in what is her debut Olympic Games.

The 20-year-old has also moved into fifth in the Nigeria all-time list behind Okagbare (10.79), Glory Alozie (10.90), Mary Onyali (10.97), and Damola Osayomi (10.99).

The Nigerian-based athlete, who ran 11.09s personal best at the time, back in March, to secure her qualification for the Olympics at the MOC Grand Prix in Lagos, will, however, need to make further history by breaking the 11-second barrier to stand a chance of joining Onyali and Okagbare as debutants who ran to the final of the 100m event.

She has been drawn to run from lane nine in the third semifinal heat with the fastest woman alive, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica, Daryl Neita of Great Britain, Teahna Daniels of the USA and fellow African, Muriel Ahoure, of the Ivory Coast.

While Nwokocha qualified for her first semifinal, Okagbare will be running in her third since she made her debut in the event at the 2012 Olympics in London.

The 32-year-old ran 11.05 seconds to win her first-round heat.

She has been drawn in the first semifinal heat alongside two heavyweights of the event, defending champion Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica, who ran 10.82s to win her first-round heat, and Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith, the 200m world champion two years ago in Doha, Qatar, who ran 11.07s to come second in her first-round heat.

The 2008 Beijing Olympics long jump silver medalist will be in action at exactly 11.15 am Nigerian time on Saturday.…

The Olympic Games’ medal table after day four

  1. Japan: 13 gold, 4 silver, 5 bronze, 22 total
  2. China: 12 gold, 6 silver, 9 bronze, 27 total
  3. USA: 11 gold, 11 silver, 9 bronze, 31 total
  4. Russian Olympic Committee: 7 gold, 10 silver, 6 bronze, 23 total
  5. Australia: 6 gold, 1 silver, 9 bronze, 16 total
  6. Great Britain: 5 gold, 6 silver, 5 bronze, 16 total
  7. South Korea: 4 gold, 2 silver, 5 bronze, 11 total
  8. Germany: 3 gold, 2 silver, 5 bronze, 10 total
  9. France: 3 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze, 8 total
  10. Netherlands: 2 gold, 6 silver, 3 bronze, 11 total
  11. Canada: 2 gold, 3 silver, 4 bronze, 9 total
  12. Hungary: 2 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze, 5 total
  13. Slovenia: 2 gold 1 silver, 1 bronze, 4 total
  14. Kosovo: 2 gold, 0 silver, 0 bronze, 2 total
  15. Italy: 1 gold, 6 silver, 8 bronze, 15 total
  16. Switzerland: 1 gold, 3 silver, 2 bronze, 6 total
  17. Chinese Taipei: 1 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze, 6 total
  18. Brazil: 1 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze, 5 total
  19. Georgia: 1 gold, 2 silver, 0 bronze, 3 total
  20. Romania: 1 gold, 2 silver, 0 bronze, 3 total
  21. Serbia: 1 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze, 4 total
  22. Austria: 1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze, 3 total
  23. Hong Kong: 1 gold, 1 silver, 0 bronze, 2 total
  24. Tunisia: 1 gold, 1 silver, 0 bronze, 2 total
  25. Croatia: 1 gold, 0 silver, 1 bronze, 2 total
  26. Estonia: 1 gold, 0 silver, 1 bronze, 2 total
  27. Uzbekistan: 1 gold, 0 silver, 1 bronze, 2 total
  28. Bermuda: 1 gold, 0 silver, 0 bronze, 1 total
  29. Ecuador: 1 gold, 0 silver, 0 bronze, 1 total
  30. Fiji: 1 gold, 0 silver, 0 bronze, 1 total
  31. Iran: 1 gold, 0 silver, 0 bronze, 1 total
  32. Latvia: 1 gold, 0 silver, 0 bronze, 1 total
  33. Norway: 1 gold, 0 silver, 0 bronze, 1 total
  34. Philippines: 1 gold, 0 silver, 0 bronze, 1 total
  35. Thailand: 1 gold, 0 silver, 0 bronze, 1 total
  36. Spain: 0 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze, 3 total
  37. New Zealand: 0 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze, 3 total

Who will take over Bolt’s 100-metre crown?

The sporting world is beginning to hold its breath as the men’s 100-metre Olympic sprint final comes into view.

Usain Bolt took gold in the blue-riband event at the last three editions of the Games in Beijing, London and Rio de Janeiro.

But with the Jamaican now retired, all eyes are on a new crop of sprinters to take on the mantle of the fastest man in the world.

Bolt will be hard to eclipse totally, given his still extraordinary world record high-water mark of 9.58 seconds, but the likes of Trayvon Bromell, Ronnie Baker and Akani Simbine have shown their credentials of late.

Akani Simbine posted 9.84 recently – the second-fastest time of the year – behind only

Trayvon Bromell clocked 9.77 in Florida in June.

Ronnie Baker set a personal best time of 9.85 seconds at the Olympic Trials, finishing second to Trayvon Bromell with his winning time of 9.80 seconds

With the mentioned trio still young in their careers, whoever takes the crown on Sunday in Tokyo could become the leader of a new generation of sprinting superstars.…

Luka Doncic and Slovenia too much for Japan, win 116-81 to move to 2-0

Hachimura did whatever he could. Blocking shots, hitting tough jumpers, logging big minutes, the best player on Japan’s roster simply held nothing back with hopes of giving his country its first Olympic men’s basketball win in 45 years. Problem was, the other side had Luka Doncic.

The Dallas Mavericks star had another impressive performance with 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in 26 minutes, Zoran Dragic scored 24 points and Slovenia remained unbeaten in its Olympic debut by beating Japan 116-81 in the Tokyo Games on Thursday.

“It’s not only Luka,” Hachmura said. “They have a lot of guys who can hoop. … They’re a great team. They beat us.” Vlatko Cancar added 16 for Slovenia, which has won its two games in Saitama by a combined 53 points. Slovenia outrebounded Japan 54-33 and had 27 assists to Japan’s 15.

“It was a great game for us,” Slovenia coach Aleksander Sekulic said. “I think we showed our power. We played really together as a team. To have 27 assists and 54 rebounds, it says something about this team and I’m really proud of them.”

Hachimura finished with 34 points and seven rebounds. Yuta Watanabe added 17 for Japan. “Congratulations to Slovenia,” Japan coach Julio Lamas said. “They played better than us, all the game. … They are a very good team, very complete team with one amazing player.”

The Hachimura vs. Doncic matchup got off to a flying start, both players finishing the first quarter with 13 points and Slovenia taking a 29-23 lead after the opening 10 minutes. The margin was up to 53-41 at the half, and Japan still seemed to have a shot early in the fourth down by only 14. And then Doncic returned, ending whatever hope the hosts had.

Doncic who declined to stop for questions after the game, didn’t play in the final 5:30 of the third quarter. He grabbed a seat at the end of the Slovenia bench, draped towels over his shoulder and lap and kept …

17-year old Ogunbanwon sets national swimming record

A new national record has been set in swimming by 17-year old, Abiola Ogunbanwon, representing Team Nigeria at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics.

Ogunbanwo won heat 1 of the women’s 100m Freestyle, finishing strongly and swimming to a new Personal Best time of 59.74s.

She won her heat in the women’s 100 metres freestyle ahead of Andela Antunovic of Montenegro who came second while Gaurika Singh of Nepal came third.

Unfortunately, her winning time fell short of the best 16 times that progressed into the semi-final,

Nonetheless, Ogunbanwon emerged as the first Nigerian woman ever to finish this event in less than one minute.

Before Ogunbanwo, the only Nigerians to have graced the pool at the Olympics were Musa Bakare (Barcelona ‘92), Ikhaghomi Joshua (Barcelona ‘92), Monu (Sydney 2000 & Beijing 2008), Gentle Offoin (Sydney 2000), Lenient Obia (Athens 2004), Eric Williams (Athens 2004), Yellow Yeiyah (Beijing 2008), Samson Opuakpo (Rio 2016), and Rachael Tonjor (Rio 2016).…

10 Nigerian athletes banned from Olympics

A huge scandal rocked Team Nigeria’s camp on Wednesday at the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games when 10 Nigerian athletes were disqualified from competing in the event after they failed to undergo mandatory tests ahead of the global sports event. Our correspondents learnt the Nigerian camp was thrown into a mourning mood after word went round that the affected athletes, who compete in track and field events, had been sent packing from the Games with just two days to the start of their events.

The Athletics Integrity Unit in a statement on Wednesday made available to correspondent, did not mention the names of the affected Nigerian athletes, but said a total of 20 athletes across the world were disqualified from the Olympics for not meeting minimum requirements by Category A countries. However, findings by our correspondent showed that the only Nigerian track and field athletes eligible to compete in Tokyo were Enoch Adegoke, Tobi Amusan, Ese Brume, Chukwuebuka Enekwechi, Patience Okon- George, Usheoritse Itsekiri, Samson Nathaniel, Grace Nwokocha, Divine Oduduru, Emmanuel Ojeli, Blessing Okagbare and Nse Uko, as their names were listed on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics portal.

The names of the other track and field athletes for the event namely Knowledge Omovoh, Ruth Usoro, Favor Ofili, Rosemary Chukwuma, Glory Patrick, Yinka Ajayi, Tima Godbless, Chidi Okezie, Chioma Onyekwere and Annette Echikunwoke were omitted by the International Olympic Committee, meaning they were the athletes banned from competing at the Games.

Other countries, who had some of their athletes disqualified, are Belarus and Ukraine, who both had three athletes banned, Kenya (two) and Morocco and Ethiopia, who had one athlete each sent packing from the Games.…

Caroline Dubois inspired by her heavyweight brother Daniel Dubois – but can she be even better?

Usually when a Dubois sibling fights, there is stony confidence. An ice cold demeanor.

But recently things were so different on the most unusual night for the fighting family – when Caroline and her older brother Daniel were both battling in crunch fights just hours apart. “It was strange! I definitely did not like it,” Caroline said. It is not uncommon for fighters to feel more nerves when their closest confidantes step into the ring but Caroline and Daniel’s high-stakes fights were particularly testing.

Caroline, just 20, was at an Olympic qualifier in Paris on June 5 with a place at Tokyo 2020 up for grabs, having already beaten a far more experienced rival.

Daniel, a couple of hours later, was making his heavyweight return in London against Bogdan Dinu in his comeback from a broken eye socket. Caroline’s Olympic quest has continued through her older brother’s painstaking recovery from the injury inflicted in his first career loss to Joe Joyce. She has seen how things can go wrong but has persevered.

“Definitely when he gets in the ring,” she smiles through obvious torment when asked if it is more nerve-wracking to watch a loved one strap on the gloves.

Caroline grimaces when thinking about Daniel’s battles: “So many big blows are thrown. One of them will land.

“It’s horrible, horrible.”

Caroline would normally have been present with her brother before his fights but, last month, was forced into unusual solitude from him when her Olympic qualifier fell on the same day.

“You have to focus on yourself so I felt bad that my brother was boxing,” she says.

“Normally I’m always there around him, giving all my attention and focus to him.

“But I had to be more selfish – I had to totally forget about him and I didn’t like that.

“It was stressful.”

A day earlier Caroline defeated Mira Potkonen of Finland, who is twice her age and was the bronze medalist at the 2016 Olympics. Before Daniel’s fight in London, Caroline confirmed her spot on Team …

Richard Torrez is the USA’s super-heavyweight at Tokyo 2020

At the 2016 Olympics, the United States did not name a single boxer in the light-heavyweight, heavyweight or super-heavyweight divisions. A lineage that included Muhammad Ali was not just downtrodden, it was worse than that. It was totally forgotten. To resurrect an Olympic powerhouse in a marquee event is the task posed for Richard Torrez. No pressure, then. He is an impossibly cool, purpose-built athlete who would not look out of place in a US teen drama – “it’s just another day in the ring for me,” he smiles.

The sobering crash of the US heavyweight scene at Rio 2016 had been foreseen but not prevented.

Gone were the days of Ali (then Cassius Clay), Joe Frazier, George Foreman and Leon Spinks winning gold; Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe and Antonio Tarver adding medals in the biggest weight divisions.

Andre Ward won gold in 2004 as a light-heavyweight but the best big men that the US could muster were Devin Vargas and Jason Estrada. That number shrunk to just one in 2008 – Deontay Wilder, who won bronze. By 2012, Dominic Breazeale, Michael Hunter and Marcus Browne all crashed out in the first round leading to the complete absence of any American heavyweights four years later for the first time in nine Games.

Enter Richard Torrez.

Perhaps it was always going to require a super-heavyweight who has boxing coursing through his blood to provoke an upturn in fortunes. He is not a believer in fate but says: “If there is destiny, then this is mine.”

Torrez acknowledges that potential boxers instead chose to become NFL or NBA players but he tells Sky Sports from Tokyo: “I feel like boxing is its own niche. If a guy wants to go into football? That’s great. But you will always have that one guy who wants to fight.

“You will always have that one guy who wants to bite down on his mouthpiece and punch.

“So it’s not a major issue. Yes, it might take some of the guys out. But the great ones …

Andy Murray says winning a medal in Tokyo would be greatest achievement of his career

Murray is representing Team GB at his fourth Olympics and will play ninth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime from Canada in the first round of the men’s singles. The 34-year-old won consecutive matches at Grand Slam level for the first time in four years on his Wimbledon singles return last month, before he lost to eventual semi-finalist Denis Shapovalov.

“That’s the goal, to try to win another medal. I’m aware that it’s not going to be easy,” Murray said ahead of the tournament starting on Saturday.

“I’m also in a slightly different position to what I was five years ago when I would have been expected to get one. That’s maybe not the case this time around.

“But for me it would be probably my best achievement if I could do that after everything that’s gone on the last few years.

“I’m motivated for that reason alone. I still believe that I can do that. I know this could be the last one for me. I want to go out there and leave everything out on the court, fight for every single point.”

Murray questioned whether his efforts to return to the top of the sport following his physical struggles in recent years were worth it after his third-round exit at Wimbledon earlier this month.

However, the Scot, who has four children aged five and under, says a chat with his daughter helped him reassess his initial downbeat assessment.

“When I got home the day after my match, my daughter said to me, ‘Daddy you’re home because you lost another tennis match’. I said to her, ‘Yes I did but what do you do when you lose at something?’

“And she said, ‘You try and try again’. And I was like, ‘Yes, that’s what I want to do’. I want to keep playing because I enjoy it. I still think I can play at a high level.

“There’s been difficult moments obviously in the last few months and the last year with the injuries and stuff but right now this is the …

US women basketball team beat Nigeria’s D’Tigress

The Nigerian national women basketball team, D’Tigress. on Sunday could not hold their own against their US counterparts as they lost 62-93 in a friendly in Las Vegas.

In the game arranged to prepare both sides for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, the Americans were totally dominant of the D’Tigress.

The Nigerian side were restricted to just 30.6 per cent shooting during the game, while their foes shot 53.8 per cent overall.

The American side also outscored Nigeria in all four quarters of the game, though only by one point in the third quarter.

Atonye Nyingifa led the scoring charts for Nigeria with nine points, while center Elizabeth Williams scored four points.

Both teams will meet again very soon in the group stage of the Olympics in Tokyo on July 27.…

Roger Federer To Miss Tokyo Olympics

Roger Federer has announced that he will miss this month’s Tokyo Olympics due to a knee injury.

Posting on Twitter, the five-time year-end World No. 1 said, “During the grass-court season, I unfortunately experienced a setback with my knee, and have accepted that I must withdraw from the Tokyo Olympic Games. I am greatly disappointed, as it has been an honor and highlight of my career each time I have represented Switzerland.

“I have already begun rehabilitation in the hopes of returning to the tour later this summer. I wish the entire Swiss team the best of luck and I will be rooting hard from a far. As always Hopp Schwiz!”

Federer, who missed the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games due to his left knee, underwent two right knee surgeries in 2020 after the Australian Open.

He returned to the Tour in Doha in March this year and has a 9-4 match record from five tournament outings, with his best result being a run to the Wimbledon quarter-finals (l. to Hurkacz).

The 28-time ATP Masters 1000 champion won a doubles gold medal with Stan Wawrinka in Beijing in 2008 and a singles silver medal (l. to Murray) in London in 2012.…

Anthony Joshua’s victory has been questioned by his Italian opponent Roberto Cammarelle

“Regardless of any move by Joshua, the crowd was cheering even if it was a miss, and I think it certainly influenced the final result”; Roberto Cammarelle reflects on defeat by Anthony Joshua in the London 2012 Olympic final

Roberto Cammarelle says he “can’t understand” how Anthony Joshua was awarded victory against him in the 2012 Olympic final and believes the crowd “influenced the judges”

Italy’s 2008 Olympic champion fought Joshua for the super-heavyweight gold medal at the London Games, suffering a defeat by countback after the scores were tied at 18-18 following their three-round bout.

But Cammarelle, who extended a 6-5 lead to 13-10 before the final round, has questioned how Joshua closed the deficit.

“As far as I can remember, I think I managed to fight exceptionally well during the two rounds,” Cammarelle told Sky Sports.

“The last round, he did not fight to overcome me. He was just sort of managing the fight. Having an equal number of points, an equal score, I can’t understand [how] I didn’t win.

“I thought I was managing the advantage I had managed to win over the first round.

“I’ve always had great physical issues. My physical preparation had only started a month before the Olympics. The fact that the semi-final was so close to the final certainly weakened my body.


Japan PM insists emperor not ‘worried’ about Olympics

Japan’s prime minister on Friday dismissed claims that the country’s emperor is “concerned” the Tokyo Olympics could spread the coronavirus, saying the comments were the opinions of an imperial household representative.

On Thursday, Yasuhiko Nishimura, the head of the Imperial Household Agency that manages royal affairs, told reporters that Emperor Naruhito is “very worried about the current infection situation of Covid-19”, Japanese media reported.

Nishimura said he believed the emperor “is concerned that while there are voices of anxiety among the public, the holding of the Olympics and Paralympics… may lead to a rise in infections”.

He noted that he had “not heard such words directly from his majesty” but believed he “feels that way”, Kyodo news agency reported.

While the emperor holds no political power, he is an important symbolic figure in Japan.

But the remarks were dismissed Friday by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who told reporters Nishimura had “expressed his own opinion”.

The line was echoed by Olympic minister Tamayo Marukawa and top government spokesman Katsunobu Kato.

Nishimura “was asked to comment on his own feelings about the Olympics, and… (he) discussed his feelings”, Kato told reporters.

“I understand that he said he has come to form this sense as he holds daily conversations with his majesty. It has to be stressed that he was speaking about his own thoughts,” Kato added.

Japan’s US-drafted post-war constitution strictly limits the role of the emperor to a symbolic figurehead with no political role.

On Thursday, Kato insisted the government remained committed to hosting a “safe and secure” Olympics, Kyodo reported.

Public opinion has for months been firmly opposed to holding the Games this year, though recent polls suggest opposition may be softening.

No overseas fans will be allowed and domestic spectators will be capped at 10,000 per event.

Japan has seen a comparatively small virus outbreak, with around 14,500 deaths despite avoiding harsh lockdowns.

Its vaccine rollout started slowly but has picked up pace in recent weeks, with nearly nine percent of the population fully vaccinated.…

Team Nigeria beat Canada, Trinidad, others at U.S. relay tour

Team Nigeria’s relays tour of the United States yielded some positive results yesterday, as the country’s men and women 4x100m teams finished tops in their respective races in Texas.

Team Nigeria started the tour of U.S three weeks ago with the PVAMU Invitational in Texas, where the mixed relay team posted a good result.

At yesterday’s event also held in Texas, Team Nigeria defeated Canada, Trinidad and Tobago and some other American clubs in the women’s 4x100m, posting a time of 43.06 seconds, which puts the country at number 11 in the world and number one for the remaining spot at the Tokyo Olympics. Team U.S.A could not raise a complete squad for the relay events yesterday.

Joy Udo-Gabriel started the women’s 4x100m race and handed over to Grace Nwokocha, who handed the baton to Rosemary Chukwuma before Commonwealth Games and two-time African champion, Tobi Amusan, who arrived Team Nigeria’s camp a few days ago, anchored the race in lane 4.

In the men’s 4x100m relay, Nigeria also won, with Enoch Adegoke starting the race and handing the baton to Chidi Okezie, who handed it to Jerry Jakpa, while Godson Brume anchored in lane 5 amidst terrible weather.

Bad weather (lightening and thunder) temporarily put the event on hold. Before then, Nigeria’s long jumper, Ese Brume, was leading her event with 6.61m.

Meanwhile, former President of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN), Chief Solomon Ogba, has praised the athletes for their performances despite the terrible weather condition in Texas yesterday.