Okagbare Wins Gold in 100m Race


BLESSING Okagbare, Nigerian sprinter set a new Commonwealth record of 10.85 seconds to win 100m gold and put her Jamaican rivals in the shade. Okagbare produced a fine piece of relaxed sprinting to leave Veronica Campbell-Brown in silver and Kerron Stewart bronze.

Asha Philip of England produced a new personal best of 11.18 secs to take fourth and her compatriot, Bianca Williams, placed sixth in her first major championships.

Okagbare, who still has 200m and long jump gold to aim at in the Games, said: “A season’s best, a win – I’m just happy I was able to pull it off. After 70m it just felt easy.”

On the stands cheering was Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State who has been the pillar of many Nigerian athletes including Okagbare. He was emotional about the victory, jumping and sending high fives to Nigerians around him. “It was a deserved victory. She has made Nigeria proud and we are happy about this sweet victory,” Uduaghan said.

After the World Championship in Russia last year, Uduaghan approved special training grants for Okagbare. Irked by the gesture, the athlete shed tears at the occasion and promised Uduaghan that she would deliver a world title in his honour.

Drogba Returns to Chelsea


DIDIER Drogba, an Ivorien football striker, is back in Chelsea football club on a one-year deal. The 36-year-old footballer won 10 trophies at Chelsea from 2004 to 2012 and was a free agent after leaving Galatasaray after the end of last season.

Drogba told Chelsea’s official site:  “It was an easy decision – I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to work with Jose (Mourinho) again. Everyone knows the special relationship I have with this club and it has always felt like home to me.

“My desire to win is still the same and I look forward to the opportunity to help this team. I am excited for this next chapter of my career.”

Jose Mourinho, manager of the club, had earlier said the forward “belongs” at Stamford Bridge – but that any deal would be made “in a non-emotional way.”

Mashaba Appointed South African Coach


SOUTH Africa Football Association, on Monday July 27, 2014 named Ephraim Mashaba, a local coach as new manager of the Bafana Bafana, thus ending all speculations concerning Stephen Keshi, former Super Eagles coach.

In the middle of the 2014 World Cup campaign, Keshi had sounded a warning that he could be heading for South Africa if the Nigeria Football Federation, NFF, failed to offer him an improved contract.

Mashaba who is making a second coming to the job is presently in charge of the under-20 team. He said that he was honoured and humbled to have been appointed head coach of Bafana Bafana for a second time in his career. “My first work would be to thank Mr. Jordaan as well as the entire national executive. Words fail me. I’m sure I won’t disappoint,” Mashaba said, adding: “I will pull out all the stops to make sure that our people become part and parcel of our national team. The only way to do that is by bringing results.”

Mashaba did not attend the announcement because he was with the South African men’s under-20 team on a tour of West Africa, but he was contacted by Dennis Mumble, Safa chief executive, seconds after the announcement.

Mashaba spoke to the media from Mali by way of Mumble’s loud-speaker on his mobile phone. Mashaba, 63, replaces outgoing boss Gordon Igesund, whose contract, would run until the end of August.

Nigerian Weightlifter in Doping Scandal

A NIGERIAN teenage weightlifter, Chika Amalaha, is in trouble. She has been provisionally suspended from the Commonwealth Games after testing positive in a doping test taken after she won gold in the women’s 53kg category, the Commonwealth Games Federation announced Tuesday, July 29.

Amalaha, 16, provided an ‘A’ sample on July 25, which revealed traces of diuretics and masking agents. She will have a ‘B’ sample tested at a laboratory in London on Wednesday, July 30.

Chika Amalaha

Mike Hooper, Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive, said: “We [have] issued a formal notice of disclosure to an athlete following an adverse analytical finding as a consequence of an in-competition test. That athlete is Nigerian weightlifter Chika Amalaha who was tested on July 25th. That athlete has now been suspended from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.”

Amalaha snatched a best of 85kg before managing 111kg in the clean and jerk for a total of 196kg, to become the youngest Commonwealth weightlifter gold medallist.

It was the first doping case of the Glasgow Games and will likely once again call into question the legitimacy of weightlifting as a Commonwealth Games sport given its history of drug-related incidents.

But Hooper insisted that the sport had its place in multi-sport events. “I think weightlifting is a fantastic sport and a strong Commonwealth and Olympic sport,” he said, adding: “I think the issue here is about showing we have a robust anti-doping programme in place. We want to send a message to anybody in any sport who would go down the route of taking any substance to enhance performance that they will be caught.”

Nigerian weightlifting also has a history of drugs offences. The Nigerian Weightlifting Federation was suspended for repeated doping violations by the International Weightlifting Federation in 2001 and banned from competing in the following year’s Manchester Games.

— Aug. 11, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT


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