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SPORTS

Serena Sweeps into Semis, Chalks up 100th U.S. Open Win

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Serena Williams claimed her 100th win at the U.S. Open in style on Tuesday.

This was after she dismantled her quarter-final opponent Wang Qiang 6-1 6-0 in a blistering 44-minute performance that ended any questions over a twisted ankle from the previous round.

“I never thought that I would get to 100,” Williams said after the match, reflecting on the two decades she’s spent playing at Flushing Meadows.

“It’s so special. I never want to let it go.”

The eighth-seeded American joins Chris Evert as the only two players to log at least 100 victories at the tournament. Williams is now only one behind Evert’s mark.

The 37-year-old Williams was dominant from the start, firing off 25 winners, compared to zero from 18th-seed Wang, and winning 90% of her first serve points.

During her fourth-round match on Sunday, Williams slipped and fell while running to the net and twisted her right ankle but said on Tuesday she was feeling “great”.

“It feels good,” Williams said of her performance. “This is how hard I’ve been working. It feels like … hard work pays off when that happens.”

Williams pumped her fist in celebration after firing off a forehand winner in front of a roaring crowd to end the contest.

“I am who I am. I’ve always been the person that goes out there and roars and screams and complains and cries and fights,” Williams said.

“I’m extremely passionate about what I do. Most people that love their jobs are passionate about what they do. That’s just me.”

She also praised the progress made in women’s tennis over her career, calling it the “premier sport for women”.

“It’s the best work in the world that a woman can do, in my mind. I’m a little biased obviously,” said the 37-year-old.

“I feel like we fought so hard for so many years for so many different things. I feel like we still obviously have a ways to go, but a lot of that fighting through decades has come through.”

Wang, who had not faced Williams before, was unable to save any of the five break point opportunities against her and said she simply could not stand up to the power from the 23-times Grand Slam champion.

“I cannot handle it. Just too much for me,” said Wang.

Williams faces fifth-seed Elina Svitolina, who she leads 4-1 in head-to-head, in the semi-finals.

“She doesn’t make a lot of mistakes,” said Williams when asked about the upcoming matchup. “She’s one of those players that does everything really well.

“So I have to do everything well, too.” (Reuters/NAN)

SPORTS

Return Super Eagles to Indigenous Coaches – Yachi

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From Attah Ede, Makurdi

Former General Manager of Professional League side, Babanawa FC, Harry Yachi has called on football administrators in the country to appoint the quartet of former Super Eagles Stars of Daniel Amokachi, Emmanuel Amuneke Finidi George and Vincent Enyeama to take over the management of the national team following the departure of the Technical Adviser, Peseiro.

The football administrator and former Referee said the decision has become imperative to give the national team a new lease of life.

Yachi urged the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) to give the a quartet a five- year contract to handle the super eagles,

“We don’t need to bring in a foreign Coach, the coaches I have mentioned here have what it takes to start where Peseiro stopped.

I believe if they agree to work together with one mind, Nigeria football will be better,” Yachi advised.

He anchored his proposal on the experience of the former players adding that they all have what it takes for the Super Eagles to regain its glory and move to higher heights.

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SPORTS

Sunday Dare, Obaseki, Runsewe, Others Get Recognition at 4th Sportsville Awards

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Mr Godwin Obaseki
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The Immediate past Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo, and Sen. Orji Kalu, on Friday got  awarded for their contributions to sports development in Nigeria.

Reports says that the awardees were honoured at the fourth Sportsville Special Recognition Awards,  at the Eko Club, Surulere, Lagos.

Other eminent sports personalities were also rewarded for their various contributions to the growth of sports in the country.

Dare got awarded as ‘Sports Administrator of the Year’, while Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo was honoured for providing a state-of-the-art sporting complex, Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, in Benin City.

Kalu and Olusegun Runsewe, President of Nigeria Golf Federation (NGF), got special recognition awards respectively.

Others are Chairman of the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL), Mr Gbenga Elegbeleye; Victor Ochei, former Delta commissioner for sports;  Chief Solomon Ogba, and Igoche Mark.

Also on the award list is Eddington Kuejubola, a one time coordinator of the Super Eagles; as well as  ace sports journalist and FIFA recognised World Cup attendee, Mr Kunle Solaja, who both got special recognition awards.

Sam Ochebo, President of Handball Federation, got an award for his landmark achievements in development of handball in Nigeria.

The long list of awardees also has Hajiya Zainab Saleh, for pioneering the promotion of women in Karate in Nigeria, while Mrs Hauwa-Kulu Akinyemi, a retired director, got recognised for her prowess in sports administration at the Federal Ministry of Sports.

Uyi Akpata, President of Nigeria Cricket Federation, got  an award for championing the growth of Cricket in Nigeria, while Francis Orbih, President of Badminton Federation of Nigeria, Jenkins Alumona and  Chikelue Iloenyosi also got rewarded for  efforts in their various fields.

Oladimeji Oshode was awarded ‘Media Officer of the Year’.

A post humous award was given to Late Sebastian Brodricks.

Speaking on the event, it’s Chairman and Head of Local Organising Committee, Segun Odegbami, said that the award has made significant development in recognising those that have made sports great in Nigeria.

“This is an opportunity today to recall bits and pieces of our history, particularly the most successful sides.

“Those that received the honours are the ones who have made significant contributions to sports development in Nigeria either in corporate organisations or individual.

“This is a good opportunity for us to recall that history, those who have performed excellently, so I am delighted to be part of this history.

“The award that I also received was a big surprise for me, though not as a footballer, or journalist, but as a chairman of the event,” he said.

In his response, Dare said that he foresees a great future for Nigerian sports given the foundation he had laid while he was the minister.

Also, Akpata said that he would continue to lay solid foundation for cricket in Nigeria. (NAN)

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SPORTS

NFF Seeks Increased Corporate Organisations  Funding of Nigerian Football

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The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), has called on corporate organisations to increase support to the federation to help develop football in the country.

The NFF President, Ibrahim Gusau made the call when MTN Nigeria hosted the Super Eagles on Tuesday in Abuja.

Reports says that Super Eagles finished as runner up to the host country, Ivory Coast at the just concluded 2023 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote d`Ivoire.

Gusau said without finance the team would not have achieved what it achieved in the tournament.

“All of us today would have loved to be celebrating here with the trophy but unfortunately God knows why.

“We thank God at least as we heard from the captain this is the beginning of the new dawn as far as Nigerian football is concerned.

“I want to use this opportunity to thank MTN for their support and I hope that other corporate organisations will come up to see how they can support us the most.

“Without finances we cannot achieve what we have been able to achieve, so we need more corporate organisations to support us to build on what we have so far built,” he said.

The Chairman MTN Board of Directors, Prof. Ernest Ndukwe, said that  MTN’s support for  the Eagles was  its own way of giving back to the society.

“This is because MTN is a sport loving organisation. Over the years, we have always wanted to support the Super Eagles in various ways. MTN is fully committed to continuing the Super Eagles.

“We are building a nation where sports have a great role to play as a unifying force. So if we support sports, we are actually promoting unity among Nigerians,” he said.

The MTN’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Karl Toriola on his part appreciated the emotional commitment of the players to succeed.

“What I liked about this team which we haven’t seen in other teams of other nations was the visible emotional commitment to succeed.

“Unfortunately we didn’t bring the cup home but that is always going to be difficult when you are playing against your host country.

“You guys have shown your complete commitment through your leadership, and we are extremely proud of you supporting the Nigerian football federation and the super eagles,” he said

Head Coach of the Super Eagles, Jose Peseiro, thanked everyone that supported the team all through their preparations and the tournament proper.

“To the NFF I thank you, MTN I thank you, Nigerians I thank you for all the support,”he said

The Assistant Captain of the Super Eagles, Troost Ekong who spoke on behalf of the team, said this was the beginning of a new era.

“Thank you NFF, thank you MTN, thank you Nigerians, thank you our fans. We have given everything we have and have made everyone proud.

“We will be better in the future. Because this is not the end but the beginning of something new and we are hoping for the best,”he said.

Mrs Ifueko Okauru, Board Member, MTN Nigeria and former Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), said MTN supported all gender, age brackets, abled and disabled persons in the society.

“MTN supports all genders and all of us able and disabled, young and old. Whatever is needed to support MTN is here to support.

“Sports development is more than just what corporate organisations do; it needs significant funding and it also needs passion to ensure that this is done and done excellently.

“I must say though we all love sports, the fans are a major part of sports development.

“The economic condition of the fans is very important to ensure that as a corporate organization, we drive sports development by encouraging fans development and developing businesses around sports to grow sports,” he said. (NAN)

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