Benue to Host Seventh National School Sports Festival

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School Sport

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THE seventh edition of the National School Sports Festival, NSSF, would hold in Otukpo, Benue, from November 6 to November 16.

A statement from Ibrahim Mohammed, president of the NSSF, quoted Igbiri Dada, commissioner for Youth and Sports, Benue State, as saying that Governor Gabriel Suswam had approved to host the festival. “When we received the request letter, we felt privileged because it is a laudable idea and the state governor did not hesitate.

“He directed that the letter be sent back immediately for approval and necessary action to be taken, in which we responded immediately.

“There is no problem, we are ready and eager to host the festival; we are just urging the NSSF to avail us with the necessary technical ideas and inputs for a good festival.

“So, the Ministry of Youth and Sports with the Ministry of Education will put heads together and work out modalities to ensure a memorable festival,’’ Dada was quoted as saying.

On his part, the NSSF president gave an assurance of bringing up preventive measures against Ebola Virus during the festival expected to feature more than 5,000 students. He assured that the federation was already taking proactive measures together with the Ministry of Health.

“With or without Ebola Virus, we are teachers, and the welfare of these children is a priority to us and their care is our primary concern.

“With the medical committee to be set up by the state, almost all medical attention and precaution including screening, usage of hand sanitisers and every other thing will be done. Above all, our prayers as parents will be with them because we are putting our trust in God,’’ Mohammed said.

Blatter Eyes Fifth Term as FIFA President

Blatter
Blatter

AGAINST all odds, Sepp Blatter would stand for a fifth term as FIFA president in the next election. Blatter, 78, whose tenure has been beset by controversy appears to be unfazed by all that as he spoke via video link at the Soccerex Global Convention in Manchester as he told his audience: “My mission is not finished.”

Blatter who was giving his first interview after the Wold Cup in Brazil called for tougher sanctions against racism in football. The head of FIFA governing body admitted that the wildly-criticised decision to stage the 2022 World Cup in Qatar was “a challenge” but insisted that a European-led boycott of the next World Cup in Russia would be futile. He also denied players would refuse to play in Qatar should the tournament clash with the European football calendar.

Blatter’s decision to stand again for the FIFA presidency is no surprise and his re-election appears a formality after Michel Platini, Uefa’s chief executive, opted not to run. “A mission is never finished and my mission is not finished,” stated Blatter. “And I have told the FIFA congress, I have told the congresses of the confederations. At the last congress in São Paulo [he received] not only the impression but the support of the majority, a huge majority of national associations asking: ‘Please go on, be our president also in future.’

“I will inform the executive committee. It’s a question of respect also to say to the football family: ‘Yes I will be ready. I will be a candidate.’”

The FIFA president said Platini’s decision not to challenge came as no surprise, but he did expect a contest with another UEFA candidate. The secret ballot is scheduled for May 29, next year, in Zurich, Switzerland, and Jerome Champagne, former FIFA international relations director, is so far the only other person challenging Blatter for the post.

Gatlin Clinches Men’s 100m Title

Gatlin
Gatlin

JUSTIN Gatlin, Olympic gold medallist, recorded the fastest time in the world this year to claim the men’s 100m Diamond League title in Brussels last week.

The 32-year-old sped away from a strong field that included Tyson Gay, a fellow American, and Asafa Powell of Jamaica to win in a time of 9.77 seconds.

But it was Michael Rodgers, another compatriot who came second in the race with 9.93secs, at the top of the standings.

Allyson Felix, an American, similarly won the women’s 200m race to take the overall title. The 28-year-old, who won gold in the event at London 2012, led Blessing Okagbare by two points coming into last week’s meeting but produced a 2014 world-leading run of 22.02 to beat the Nigerian rival, who finished the race in a disappointing sixth.

Dafne Schippers, who won the sprint double at the European Championships in Zurich in August, was third in the race and also took third place in the overall standings.

Williams Lands 18th Grand Slam Title

Willams
Willams

SERENA Williams’ victory at the United States Open on Sunday, September 7, brought her tally to 18th Grand Slam title. The American who beat Caroline Wozniacki 6-3 6-3 to go fourth on the all-time list of major winners alongside Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, admitted that she was seriously under pressure before the final.

Williams, 32, said the ambition of winning the 18th grand slam had been on her mind all year, and was the first thing she thought of upon victory. “I’ve been trying to reach it for so long. I didn’t really think I would get there. I felt so good,” she said.

Navratilova and Evert joined Williams for the trophy ceremony and presented her with a bracelet carrying the number ’18’ to make her achievement. “It means a lot to me,” William, who is the world number one, said.

“I just could never have imagined that I would be mentioned with Chris Evert or with Martina Navratilova, because I was just a kid with a dream and a racquet. Living in Compton, this never happened before,” she said.

It was Williams’s sixth US Open and 18th grand slam title, but her first in a year that, before New York, had seen her fail to get past the fourth round at any of the other majors.

With the win, Williams has now won six US Open, five Wimbledon, five Australian Open and two French Open titles over the course of 15 years — a record span of years between winning grand slams.

— Sep. 22, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT

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