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Head of French Olympic Committee Quits

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French Olympic Committee chief, Brigitte Henriques, has stepped down, just over a year before the Paris Summer Games begin in late July 2024.

She announced her decision at a board meeting on Thursday, the committee announced.

French media reports said there had been a power struggle within the organisation.

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SPORTS

Nigeria Badminton Federation President, Orbih Elected Member,  African Badminton Confederation

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By Orkula Shaagee, Abuja

The president of the Badminton Federation of Nigeria (BFN), Francis Orbih has been elected as a council member of the Badminton Confederation  Africa (BCA).

His election climaxed activities of   the world Badminton Federation (BWF)congress, which held Thursday, in Kualar Lumpur, Malaysia.

Orbih, a Lawyer, had earlier lost in 2021, when he sought for a two-year tenure.

On Thursday, however,  he won election for a a four-year tenure, longer than the two-year tenure he unsuccessfully sought in 2021.

In a statement in Abuja, Orbih said with his victory,  Nigeria  was back in the boardroom where decisions about the administration of the game of badminton in Africa are taken.

“Nigeria will definitely have a better voice  and wwould be able to influencing decisions,” an obviously joyful Orbih stated.

In the election also, Tukebana Michel Bau of Seychelles retained his post as the BCA President as he  was returned unopposed, while Kingsley Mulenga  of Zambia, who defeated the incumbent  Amine Zobiri of Algeria emerged as the Deputy President.

Botswana’s  Mpiwa Bosenogile  defeated the incumbent, Mrs. Chipo Zumbrani of Zimbabwe to become the Treasurer.

A total of 11 members out of 21 contestants were elected into council.  They are include: Odette Assembe Engoulou (Cameron);Rajen Pultoo (MRI); Dr Hesham Fouad Mohamed El Tohamy (EGY); Jeanette Moneoang LESHOTA. (LES); Simon Mugabi (Uganda); Aubin Houndagnon ASSOGBA (BEN); Dro Honore Zolobe (CIV);Francis ORBIH (Nigeria); Mohamed Moncef Zemmouchi (Algeria); Micheal John Noone (South Africa) and Michael Shamsu Mustapha (SLE)

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Sports Sector to get N80bn Under National Development Plan – Minister

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Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Sunday Dare, says the sports sector will receive N80 billion in the next four years, under the Federal Government’s National Development Plan (NDP).

Dare said this in Abuja while receiving the “Outstanding Youth and Sports Minister” award, presented to him by the Executive Board of Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), led by its President, Habu Gumel.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the award was presented to the minister for his contributions to sports development in Nigeria and the Olympic movement.

Dare said that a percentage of the NDP fund for sports sector would go directly to sports federations since they were the main propellers of athletes’ success, which had now been attributed to him.

“I salute the resilience of the sports federations. Their sacrifices and work in developing sports in Nigeria deserve commendation.

“In spite of the challenges of funding, they still turn up for international competitions, thereby giving the athletes the needed exposure and training required to compete at the elite level.

“We all know that without these athletes, nothing is possible in sports, while there will be no achievements,” he said.

The minister also identified funding as one of the biggest challenges of sports development in Nigeria, a problem, he said that the newly-approved National Sports Industry Policy (NSIP) would alleviate.

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“The incentives outlined in the Sports as Business Policy have been approved and will be announced soon.

“The technical committee has put finishing touches to the document and it will become fully operational soon.

“This will drive private sector support for sports and there will be a massive turnaround, as the funding issue will be confronted headlong.

“In the last four years, the sports ministry had moved from being a third tier ministry to being a first tier one.

“Just a few weeks back, the Federal Government approved N2.4 billon for a High Performance Centre to be established inside the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.

“Before then, there was the Anti Doping Centre to be established in Nsukka, Enugu State,” he said.

Dare commended NOC for offering scholarships to many Nigerian athletes and combining its participation in sports with education.

Earlier, Gumel commended the minister for his numerous achievements, some of which, he said, included: the emergence of the National Sports Industry Policy (NSIP) and the ‘Adopt Initiative’.

Other achievements, he said, were the revamping of the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL), payment of monthly stipends to the families of departed sports icons as well as provision of financial support to ailing former and active athletes.

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According to the NOC president, another remarkable legacy is the delivery of the headquarters and secretariat of Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA) by the federal government.

He recalled that the ANOCA secretariat was inaugurated by the President of International Olympic Committee (IOC), Dr Thomas Bach.

Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development, Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar, thanked the minister for his ‘wonderful’ performance in office.

Abubakar, while wishing Dare well in his future endeavours, called for stronger cooperation between the ministry and the Olympic family. (NAN) 

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Murray Withdraws from French Open

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Britain’s Andy Murray has withdrawn from the French Open to prioritise the grass-court season in the build-up to Wimbledon.

Murray, 36, has only played at Roland Garros once since 2017.

The three-time Grand Slam champion won the clay-court Challenger event in Aix-en-Provence in May but has struggled for consistency on the surface.

The French Open, the second Grand Slam of the year, takes place from 28 May to 11 June.

Murray lost to long-time rival Stan Wawrinka in Bordeaux earlier this week and also had early exits at the ATP Tour events in Rome, Madrid and Monte Carlo.

He did, however, beat America’s world number 17 Tommy Paul when he came back from a set down in Aix-en-Provence to secure his first clay-court title since 2016 and his first singles trophy for four years.

Murray said earlier in May he was not sure about playing at Roland Garros, telling the Guardian: “It’s just what the right thing is to prioritise at this stage in my career.

“I trust my body now but I’m aware that my best chance of having a deep run is more likely to happen at Wimbledon.”

Murray is set to play in the Cinch Championships at Queen’s Club, which takes place from 19-25 June.

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The first event of the British grass-court season will be the Surbiton Trophy from 4-11 June.

Murray reached the 2016 French Open final, when he was beaten by Novak Djokovic, and the semi-finals in Paris the following year, with Wawrinka ending his challenge.

The Scot dropped to 503 in the men’s rankings after having career-saving hip resurfacing surgery in 2019 but has worked himself back up to 42nd in the world.

In January’s Australian Open, he spent 10-and-a-half hours on court in victories over Matteo Berrettini and Thanasi Kokkinakis, before being beaten in the third round by Roberto Bautista Agut.

Murray joins 14-time champion Rafael Nadal in withdrawing from Roland Garros, while Italy’s Berrettini and Australia’s Nick Kyrgios have also pulled out.

British women’s number two Jodie Burrage will also miss the French Open, where she was due to take part in qualifying, after failing to recover in time from a niggle.

With Emma Raducanu sidelined long term after operations on both her wrists and an ankle, 106th-placed Burrage was set to be Britain’s highest-ranked woman in Paris.

She is hoping to return for the grass-court event in Surbiton beginning on 4 June and will overtake Raducanu after the French Open irrespective of her results.

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