Over 400 scrabble players from across Nigeria are expected to converge on Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, for the first Governor Douye Diri National Scrabble Championship. A letter from the Nigeria Scrabble Federation (NSF) to the Bayelsa State Scrabble Association (BYSA) indicated that the tournament would hold at the end of May. Chairman of the BYSA, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, who confirmed the hosting right to journalists in Yenagoa, said it would hold between May 28 and 30. Alabrah said the NSF president, Garba Gora, and top scrabble players in the country are expected to be present at the three-day event. He said the essence of the championship was to enhance the development of scrabble in the state. According to him, scrabble is an intellectual board game that helps to improve the use of words as well as inculcate good reading culture. He added that the association had begun a catch-them-young campaign in schools in order to encourage young Bayelsans to embrace scrabble as an intellectual game and be able to compete with their counterparts within and outside Nigeria. Alabrah is equally upbeat that the showpiece would be an avenue to boost the economy of the state. About N10 million would be up for grabs as prize money in the masters, intermediate, veterans, opens, best females and students categories. The COVID-19 protocols would also be observed during the championship.
Lagos City Marathon: Muazu, Kefas vow to end dominance of East Africans
Two of Nigeria’s top elite road race runners Adamu Muazu and Williams Kefas have assured it would no longer be business as usual for the East Africans; especially Kenyans at this year’s Lagos City Marathon. Unlike in the women’s category where a Nigerian has actually broken into the ranks to finish among the top 10, the men have watched helplessly as the Kenyans and Ethiopians cart away the dollars reserved for the fastest runners. Iliya Pam in 2019 came the closest in breaking into the top 10 but his winning time of 2:32:24 in the Nigeria category was only good for 15th position overall. Ahead of the 2021 edition of the Lagos Marathon, there have been fewer competitions for the runners due to the coronavirus pandemic, and while this might be viewed as a snag, Kefas suggested otherwise as he revealed he has had more training time without burning himself out before the big race in Lagos. He said: “This marathon, I am very ready to achieve a lot in Lagos. I have been training so hard for it and at the moment, my wife even said she cannot understand me again because all I do now is train, train and train every time. I am looking for my best, I really want to enter the top 10. We want to get a time that will make the AFN see that we the long-distance runners have been training hard. Muazu is equally fired and while he has tall ambitions for himself, he believes impossible is nothing even as he suggests he and his colleagues are already narrowing the gap with the East Africans. He said: “We are tired of fighting for the first Nigerian prize, who says we cannot win the main prize? I am going for the medal in Lagos and probably break the national record. Though Muazu believes much more still needs to be done to make the Nigerian runners be at par with their East African counterparts, he admits they are on the right track running in globally acclaimed races like the Access Bank City Marathon. The sixth edition of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon will be taking place on Saturday, April with only 300 elite runners on parade.
Ekerekeme Agiomor Books Historic Olympic Ticket
Ekerekeme Agiomor will be the only Nigerian male wrestler at the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics, after he impressively secured qualification to the global multi-sport showpiece on the final day of competition at the Africa/Oceania Olympic Qualifiers in Hammamet, Tunisia. Wrestling in the 86kg Freestyle event, the 2018 African champion produced three big wins to seal a first-ever Olympic berth. In his opening quarter-final bout, Agiomor brushed aside home favourite Maher Ghanmi of Tunisia 12-7, before storming to a convincing 12-2 win against Australia’s Jayden Lawrence in the last four, and secured his place at the Tokyo Games. The multiple National champion then put the icing on the cake, clinching gold in the final against Algeria’s Fateh Benferdjallah, courtesy of a hard-fought 7-6 victory. However, his compatriots; Ebikewenimo Welson (57kg), Amas Daniel (65kg), Ogbonna John (74kg) and Soso Tamarau (97kg) all came short in their bid to secure Olympic spots in Tokyo. Taramau came close to qualifying, but was eventually defeated 6-3 by Mohammed Fardj of Algeria in the semi-finals, while the trio of John, Daniel and Welson failed to reach the crucial stages. Agiomor’s qualification means Team Nigeria will parade five wrestlers at the Summer Games, which runs from 23 July to 8 August. Earlier on Saturday, 10-time African champion Blessing Oborududu (68kg), back-to-back Commonwealth gold-medalist Aminat Adeniyi (62kg) and teenager Adijat Idris (50kg) joined already qualified Odunayo Adekuoroye (57kg) to the global sports fiesta.