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Farah Uncertain about Career Future after Defeat by Club Runner




British distance great Mo Farah was noncommittal about his athletics future after being beaten by a club runner on his return to action at the London 10 000m yesterday.

The four-time Olympic champion, racing for the first time since failing to qualify for last year’s Tokyo Games while struggling with a foot injury, was unable to out-kick Ellis Cross, 26, over the closing stages.

Farah, 39, finished a minute outside his best time over the same course in 2010, and then declined to say whether he will try to compete at the World Championships in Eugene in July.

The 5 000m and 10 000m champion at both the 2012 London and 2016 Rio Olympics, Farah told the BBC: “Your body has to be ready. You have to be in the right frame of mind. You have to be able to compete with the guys.

“Today was a tough day. Ellis did really well to win here. But you’ve got to see where you are.

“At the minute I don’t even know. You’ve got to take it race by race and let the body see what it can do. I’m not getting any younger, am I?”

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Farah moved up in distance to the marathon only to move back to the track in 2020 as he aimed for an Olympic finale but Sunday’s performance could hasten the end of his career.

“I did put some good blocks of training together but it’s been so, so long — nine months since my last race,” said Farah. “I love the sport and I love what I do.

“I’ve had a long career but there’s a lot of youngsters who are coming through, which is nice to see.”

A stunned Cross, left struggling to take in his victory, said: “I didn’t believe it until 20 metres from the finish, I was like, ‘He’s just going to outkick me, that’s just that’. I can’t explain the feeling. It’s overwhelming.

“The most inspiring thing for myself is I’ve beaten somebody that’s an idol.”

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Diri Scrabble Championship Stakes N5m Prize Money




From Tayese Mike, Yenagoa

Hosts of the Governor Douye National Scrabble Championship have said that N5 million has been earmarked as total prize money for the second edition of the competition.

No fewer than 300 participants are expected at the Bayelsa State governor’s championship, which holds in Yenagoa, the state capital, on July 15-17.

The Nigeria Scrabble Federation (NSF)-sanctioned competition will feature five categories, namely Masters, Intermediate, Veterans, Opens and Students.

Chairman of the Bayelsa State Scrabble Association, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, who confirmed this during a radio programme in Yenagoa on Monday, said registration is free for Bayelsa-based secondary school students while the top female players in the different categories would get special prizes.

The BSSA chairman explained that the target of the free registration is to encourage the young ones to develop interest in the game and to be able to  catch them young.

“Scrabble is a positive, transformative mind-builder that develops the intellect. If you are able to get the young ones to be interested in the game, this helps them grow intellectually and academically. We introduced this aspect last year and we are continuing it in this edition,” he said.

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Alabrah, who is also the Chief Press Secretary to the state governor, further stated that the winner of the Masters category will get half a million naira as the star prize.

He commended Governor Diri for supporting the game to grow in the state and in the country, stressing that the Scrabble community in Nigeria was appreciative of his huge contribution to the development of the game and the youths in particular.

Top-rated Oshevire Avwenagha won the Masters category of the inaugural edition while Eta Karo came second ahead of Okiemute Tegha.

In the Intermediate category, Raji Kazeem picked the top prize while homeboy, Tariye Alari, was winner of the Opens event and Odion Osikada took the Veterans title.

Sixteen-year-old Ikoko David of Federal Government College, Odi, Bayelsa State, won in the Students category edging then 9-year-old prodigy and current Africa Under-10 chess champion, Deborah Quickpen, to the crown. 

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2022 WAFCON: South Africa Stuns Champions Nigeria in Group Opening Game




South Africa’s Banyana Banyana on Monday stunned champions Super Falcons of Nigeria 2-1 in the Group C opening match at the 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Morocco.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the result was similar to that of 2018 WAFCON where Banyana Banyana pipped the Super Falcons 1-0 in their opening game.

The result also meant that the South Africans have now recorded back-to-back wins against Nigeria after they defeated the Super Falcons 4-2 in the Aisha Buhari Cup Invitational in 2021.

On Monday, after a goalless first half, South Africa netted two quick goals through Jermaine Seoposenwe and Hildah Magaia.

The nine-time champions however managed to pull a goal back late in the game through Rasheedat Ajibade.

South Africa bossed the first five minutes of the game but the Falcons defence held firm.

In the eighth minute the Falcons had a scare as Asisat Oshoala went down and needed treatment following a tough challenge.

Few minutes later South Africa broke forward with Tochukwu Oluehi out of her area but Ashleigh Plumptre got there and cleared for a corner-kick.

Michelle Alozie tried to play Oshoala through on goal but her effort was blocked in the 23rd minute.

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Few minutes later, Oshoala had another chance to open scoring after controlling a long pass with her chest but fell over with the goalkeeper coming out to claim the ball.

In the 37th minute Alozie found herself in a good space on the right to beat her marker, but her attempted left-foot curler went across goal.

Nine minutes later, a long cross found Ifeoma Onumonu, but her header was weak to trouble the South African goalkeeper.

South Africa broke the deadlock in the 60th minute through Seoposenwe who collected a pass on the edge of the box before slotting past goalkeeper Oluehi.

Just barely two minutes later, Magaia doubled South Africa’s lead as she ran on to a through pass and fired past Oluehi.

Minutes later another break from South Africa freed Kgatlana but Oluehi came off her area to stop her.

The Falcons pushed forward to salvage something out of the game but the South Africans were able to ward off their threats.

Ajibade however pulled a goal back for Nigeria in the first minute of added time, off an assist from Onome Ebi.

But it was only a consolation goal as South Africa held on to claim the win.

The Super Falcons will next face debutants Botswana while South Africa take on Burundi.(NAN)

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Foreign News

Husband of Slain Kenyan Runner Tirop Seeks Plea Bargain




The husband of slain Kenyan distance runner Agnes Tirop is seeking a plea bargain after initially denying a charge of murder, his lawyer said yesterday.

Tirop, a rising star in the world of athletics, was killed last October in her home in Iten, a high-altitude training hub in western Kenya for top runners.

Emmanuel Ibrahim Rotich was arrested after a dramatic late-night chase the day after Tirop’s body was found with stab wounds, and has been in custody ever since.

The 41-year-old denied a charge of murder at a November court appearance.

But in the latest twist in the legal saga, his lawyer Ngigi Mbugua told the Eldoret High Court that Rotich was willing to plead guilty to a lesser charge in the hope of attracting a more lenient sentence.

The prosecution said it was not against the idea of a plea bargain but wanted Tirop’s family to be involved in the process.

A hearing on Rotich’s request will take place on 22 September.

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