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Tokyo Olympics: cancellation was never an option says IOC President

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Tokyo Olympics: cancellation was never an option says IOC President

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Despite the difficulties involved in hosting Tokyo Olympics amid the Covid pandemic, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach says “cancellation was never an option”.

Although admitting that the rescheduling of the Tokyo Olympics caused “sleepless night”, Bach said the event must go ahead “to give hope” for the future.

The opening ceremony for the delayed 2020 Games is on Friday.

“The IOC never abandons the athletes,” said Bach.

“Cancellation would have been the easy way for us. We could have drawn on the insurance that we had at the time and moved on to Paris 2024.

“But in fact, cancellation was never an option for us.

“In order to arrive at this day today, we had to give confidence. We had to show a way out of this crisis. We had to provide stability. We had to build trust. We had to give hope.”

Toshiro Muto, the head of the Games organising committee, did not rule out a late cancellation of the event if there is a surge in Covid-19 cases.

Muto said he would keep an eye on infection numbers and hold discussions with organisers if necessary.

A first time

The Olympics and Paralympics were postponed for a year in March 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, the first time in the Olympic Games’ 124-year modern history that they have been delayed.

Bach admits the unprecedented decision created serious doubts as to whether the Games could go ahead all.

“I can admit that we did not know how complex this would be,” he said in a speech to mark the start of the 138th IOC Session in Tokyo.

“There was no blueprint. Nobody had ever done this before.

“Over the past 15 months, we had to take daily decisions on very uncertain grounds. We had doubts every day. We deliberated and discussed. There were sleepless nights. Like everyone else in the world, we did not know, I did not know, what the future would hold.

“Imagine for a moment what it would have meant if the leader of the Olympic movement, the IOC, would have added to the already many doubts surrounding the Olympic Games. It would have poured fuel on to this fire.

“Our doubts could have become a self-fulfilling prophecy. The Olympic Games could have fallen to pieces. That is why we had to keep these doubts to ourselves.

State of emergency

Organisers have warned overseas athletes, officials and journalists attending the games against visiting restaurants that open after 8pm or serve alcohol, citing concerns over the possible spread of Covid-19.

Japan has declared a state of emergency for Tokyo that will run through its hosting of the Games and public concern has grown over what impact the influx of tens of thousands of attendees could have on infection rates.

Japanese media have reported cases of people accredited for the Games drinking in Tokyo’s downtown areas or violating quarantines.

“Even after your first 14 days in Japan, this will be perceived as visiting a business that operates illegally and could constitute a grave reputational risk to yourself, your organisation, and the Tokyo 2020 Games,” organisers said in a note sent to Covid-19 liaison officers responsible for ensuring the participants follow the protocols.

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Tokyo’s Olympic stadium

Meanwhile, Czech beach volleyball trainer Simon Nausch is the third member of the Czech delegation to test positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of positive cases to 71.

Beach volleyball player Ondrej Perusic recorded a positive test on Monday, two days after a staff member had tested positive following their arrival in Tokyo on a charter flight from Prague.

Nausch and Perusic have both left the Olympic village to isolate.

 

 

BBC/Emmanuel Ukoh

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Olympics: Ivory Coast, Egypt Reach Quarter-Finals In Football

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Olympics: Ivory Coast, Egypt Reach Quarter-Finals In Football

Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast and Egypt both qualified for the quarter-finals of men’s football tournament, while South Africa crashed out on day six of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Ivory Coast qualified as runners up from Group D after a tough 1-1 draw against Germany, knocking the Europeans out of the tournament. AC Milan’s Franck Kessie and Manchester United’s Eric Bailly both featured for the Ivorians in the encounter at the Miyagi Stadium in Tokyo.

The Ivorians opened the scoring when German right-back Benjamin Henrichs deflected the ball into his own net in the 67th minute. Ivory Coast striker Youssouf Dao did well to put the German defence under pressure, forcing the defender into an error.

In the 73rd minute, a brilliant free kick from substitute Eduard Lowen saw the Germans draw level. However, game finished 1-1 and the result was enough for the Ivorians to finish as runners up in the Group.

Ivory 2

Ivory Coast will now face Spain for a place in the semi-finals of the competition. Spain won the group after a 1-1 draw with Argentina.

Australia 0-2 Egypt

The Egyptians progressed to the quart-finals of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after a 2-0 win against Australia, finishing as Group C runners-up ahead of Argentina on goal difference. Both teams finished on four points to progress to the next round.

Ahmed Rayan scored for Egypt from close range just before half time after he was set up by some great individual work from Ramadan Sobhi. The Egyptians made sure of the win five minutes from time as Ammar Hamdy scored following a fumble from the Australian goalkeeper Tom Glover.

Egypt

Egypt will face the gold medal holders Brazil, who won Group D ahead of the Ivorians, in their last eight match on Saturday.

Mexico 3-0 South Africa

It was an Olympics that South Africa’s football team will want to forget as they suffered a 3-0 defeat against Mexico, ending its hopes of advancing beyond the football group stages at the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday.

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South Africa player gets sent off during Tokyo 2020 Olympics football match against Mexico

South Africa needed to win by two goals or more after their first two Group A matches against France and Japan ended in defeat.  Also, Japan needed to beat France in the other encounter for South Africa to qualify for a spot in the quarter-final.

First-half goals by Mexico’s Ernesto Vega (18th minute) and Luis Romo (45), as well as Henry Martin’s strike on the hour mark, condemned South Africa to end a woeful campaign. Mexico and Japan advanced from Group A to the quarter-finals.

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Olympics: Abiola Ogunbanwo Breaks 14-Year-Old Swimming Record

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Olympics: Abiola Ogunbanwo Breaks 14-Year-Old Swimming Record

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Nigerian swimmer Abiola Ogunbanwo got the country its second win at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after claiming victory in heat 1 of the women’s 100m Freestyle swimming event in a time of 59.74s, breaking Ngozi Monu’s 14-year record.

Ogunbanwo, 17, swam to a new National Record of 59.74s, making her the first Nigerian woman ever to swim under the one minute mark in this event. Ogunbanwo broke Monu’s longstanding record of 1:00.50 which has stood for 14years, and now has two Nigerian records in her bag.

Abiola
Abiola Ogunbanwo came first in heat 1 of the women’s 100m Freestyle swimming event in a time of 59.74s

The Nigerian finished ahead of Andela Antunovic of Montenegro (1:00.01), Nepal’s Gaurika Singh (1:00.11), and Mineri Gomez of Guam (1:04.00). Although she finished in an overall ranking of 48th place when the six heats were concluded, Ogunbanwo’s time was not enough to secure the teenager a spot in the semi-finals.

Having entered the competition with a Personal Best of 1:00.77, going under one-minute was going to be a big improvement for her, and it showed in how strongly she finished particularly in the last 50m of the race.

Abiola Ogunbanwo
Abiola Ogunbanwo dives during 100m freestyle swimming event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Ogunbanwo can hold her head up high after adding the 100m national record to the 400m freestyle and 200m breaststroke national records she currently holds.

Her outing at the Tokyo Olympics will undoubtedly be important for her swimming development.

 

Chidi Nwoke/Making Of Champions.

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Sport delegation visits Army Headquarters, seek support

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Sport delegation visits Army Headquarters, seek support

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A delegation from the Organisation of Military Sports in Africa(OSMA) and Council of International Military Sports for Africa (CISM) led by OSMA President, Brigadier General Maikano Abdullahi has paid a courtesy visit to the Army Headquarters soliciting the support of the Nigerian Army in the activities of both Organisations.

The OSMA President, who doubled as the Vice President CISM said the delegation was in Nigeria for the Council Meeting of the Organisations, hence decided to use the opportunity to visit Defence and Service Headquarters according to a statement by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyeam Nwachukwu.

He used the visit to inform the COAS of the SAHEL Countries Armed Forces Sports Competition slated to hold between 9 -19 October 2021 in Nigeria.

He said that the idea of bringing the Armed Forces of various African countries together through sports  is to aid the military in the fight against insurgency and other security challenges in Africa.

Responding, the COAS who was represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans (Army) Major General Anthony Omozoje thanked the delegation for the visit and assured them of COAS’ support in all their activities.

He congratulated the OSMA President on his election and charged him to remain a good ambassador of the Nigerian Army and wished the delegation a fruitful and rewarding council meeting and facility tour.

Present at the event were Principal Staff Officers  and Directors of Army Headquarters among others. Highpoint of the event was the presentation of souvenir to OSMA President.
Lateefah Ibrahim

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Tokyo Olympics: Moroccan boxer Baalla disqualified

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Tokyo Olympics: Moroccan boxer Baalla disqualified

Moroccan boxer disqualified

Moroccan heavyweight boxer, Youness Baalla attempted to bite David Nyika’s ear during his defeat to the New Zealander at the Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday.

The 22-year-old was subsequently disqualified for unsportsmanlike behaviour, although he was already out of the Games anyway following his unanimous-points loss in the round-of-16 bout.

A Tokyo 2020 statement called Baalla’s actions “intolerable”, saying that he “very clearly intended to bite the ear/face of his opponent in the third round of the bout”.

Footage shows Baalla trying to bite Nyika’s right ear as the two boxers hold each other.

 

 

AFP/Mercy Chukwudiebere

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Tatjana Schoenmaker claims silver medal for Team South Africa in 100m breaststroke final

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Tatjana Schoenmaker claims silver medal for Team South Africa in 100m breaststroke final

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South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker has won silver in the 100m women’s butterfly in her first Olympic finals.

Schoenmaker’s victory is the first by a female swimmer from South Africa in 21 years.

She hopes the medal, which is the country’s first at these games, can bring some joy back home after days of violence.

“I really hope this brings a little bit of hope for South Africa and we are obviously going through a tough time at the moment so that shows us there’s hope in South Africa,” she said.

Riots broke out in parts of South Africa on 8 July following the arrest of former president Jacob Zuma. The violence left more than 300 dead and many businesses destroyed.

Schoenmaker believes sports can play a role as the country recovers from the turbulent few weeks during the Olympics.

“Obviously, we know sport unites countries we have seen it with the rugby world cup so hopefully the Olympics does the same,” Schoenmaker said.

In 1995 the rugby world cup home win was seen as a tool to heal divisions as the country came out of a punishing apartheid era with Nelson Mandela’s famous quote, that sport could change the world.

The country’s third rugby world cup trophy in 2019 was also seen to transcend sport as it was led by Siya Kolisi, the country’s first black rugby captain.

 

 

BBC

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