• Russian athletes challenge doping ban at sports court

    Russian athletes challenge doping ban at sports court

    Dozens of Russian athletes banned by the International Olympic Committee for life over doping began an appeal against their suspension on Monday at the world’s top sports court.

    The week-long hearing at the Court of Arbitration for Sport includes appeals from 39 Russians who competed at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, which were tarnished by a vast, Moscow-backed doping scheme, according to multiple independent investigations.

    The mass hearing is an extraordinary session for CAS and forced the court to temporarily move from its small headquarters in Lausanne to a large conference centre in Geneva.

    The hearing began shortly before 10:00 am (0900 GMT), but none of the athletes were on hand yet, a source close to CAS said, explaining that the first session primarily concerned procedural issues.

    Another three Russian biathletes have also appealed against their IOC ban, but their cases will be heard later.

    Among the witnesses scheduled to testify is Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Russia’s anti-doping lab (RUSADA).

    He was the key whistleblower who exposed the cheating programme that IOC president Thomas Bach has described as an “unprecedented attack on the integrity of the Olympics”.

    But Rodchenkov will not testify in person. Instead, he will appear via video-link from the United States, where he fled after the sudden deaths of two senior ex-RUSADA executives.

    Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren has also been announced as a witness.

    McLaren authored the report on Russian cheating for the World Anti-Doping Agency that read in part like a Cold War spy novel, and laid out the workings of the programme — from the use secret state agents to passing urine samples out of testing labs through mouseholes.

    But none of the testimony will be open to the public, in keeping with the court’s standard practice.

    Those mounting appeals are some of Russia’s most celebrated Olympians, like cross-country skier Alexander Legkov, who won 50km gold at Sochi, and double bobsleigh champion Aleksandr Zubkov — both of whom were later stripped of their titles.

    Injecting further drama into the hearing is that fact that the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, start on February 9 and 21 of the 42 banned Russians say they want to compete.

    CAS has said it will deliver a decision between January 29 and February 2.

    But even if any of the Russians secure what would be a surprise victory on appeal, the road to Pyeongchang would still remain complicated.

    The IOC has banned Russia from the 2018 Games.

    Russian athletes who want to compete are being forced to pass a unique set of anti-doping tests.

    Those deemed clean will be allowed to appear in Pyeongchang under a neutral flag as an “Olympic Athlete from Russia”.

    On Friday, the IOC said the pool of Russians who could potentially be eligible for the 2018 Games had been reduced from 500 to 389.

    None of the 42 banned Russians were on the list, making it nearly impossible that any of them could clear their names by the end of the month and then maneuver their way towards Pyeongchang eligibility by February 9.

    Russia’s deputy prime minister responsible for sport Vitaly Mutko — a key figure in the doping scandal — said last week that he believed around 200 Russians would ultimately be cleared for Pyeongchang. (AFP)

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  • Simona Halep beats Naomi Osaka to reach Australian Open quarter-finals

    Simona Halep beats Naomi Osaka to reach Australian Open quarter-finals

    World number one Simona Halep beats Japan’s Naomi Osaka in straight sets to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals.

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  • Pinnick offers Oruma job in national team

    Pinnick offers Oruma job in national team

    By Tony Ubani

    Distressed former Super Eagles midfielder, Wilson Oruma who has been battling emotional disorder after being defrauded N2 billion by fake oil businessmen has been offered a job as assistant coach in one of the national teams.



    The cheery news was given by the President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Melvin Amaju Pinnick who has picked all the former Nigeria international’s hospital bills and relocated him to a better equipped one.

    ‘’By next week, Oruma will move into my house before they finish furnishing the three bedroom flat where he would stay’’, the NFF President confirmed to us.

    His story is a pathetic one and we cannot allow him to die. I am rendering this help to him from one Warri man to another. We are Warri Ambassadors’’.

    Pinnick said that the former Golden Eaglets’ 1993 FIFA U-17 World Cup winning captain was recovering well. ‘’All we need to do is to show him love. I ate with him. He’s stable. The NFF will include him to play a role in our award ceremony coming up soon.

    Thereafter, we’ll include him in the U-20 national team. Come June, we’ll also include him in the contingent to Russia to cheer the Super Eagles’’.  I’m still talking with some of the clubs he played for to allow him come and do a coaching course with them’’.

    Pinnick’s  personal Foundation are footing the bills for his rehabilitation.

    Oruma featured for Nigeria’s U-17, U-23 and the senior national team, winning the FIFA U-17 World Cup in 1993, the Olympic gold in 1996 and two bronze medals at the African Cup of Nations in 2002 and 2006.

    At club level, he starred for RC Lens, Nancy, Samsunspor, Nimes, Servette, Sochaux, Marseille and Guingamp, and Kavala FC of Greece before he retired on November 26, 2010.

    The NFF President who led members of his exco in another landmark agreement with WAPIC Insurance prayed that Super Eagles players could maximise the benefits of having WAPIC to have a better future through proper pension fund. ‘’

    On the World Cup preparation, Amaju showered praises on Sports Minister Dalung and the Federal Government for their massive support and creating an enabling environment for football stability and prosperity in Nigeria.

    The post Pinnick offers Oruma job in national team appeared first on Vanguard News.

    Click here to read the full text by Emmanuel Okogba

  • Nigeria to host para-badminton workshop

    Nigeria to host para-badminton workshop

    Idris Adesina

    Nigeria will host the first African para-badminton workshop in October, the President of Badminton Federation of Nigeria Francis Orbih has said.

    Orbih told our correspondent that the workshop would be sponsored by the Badminton Confederation of Africa to develop the sport in Africa.

    “We’ll be having a para-badminton workshop which will be sponsored by the African body. I returned from South Africa recently, where the meeting was held. This is part of how the African body feels they can support us in developing the sport in the country and on the continent,” Orbih said.

    He said the year will be busy for athletes and coaches.

    He added, “We’ve rolled out our calendar for the year 2018. One of the promises I made during my campaign was that we are going to have a robust and busy year.

    “For this year, we have a minimum of five national championships and age-grade competitions because that is one of the focal points of the board. We want to discover younger players who can replace older athletes when they retire. We’ll also have seminars, workshops and courses for the technical department made up of coaches, umpires and referees.

    “We need to develop the technical aspect of the game as much as we are discovering the players because the discovered players will be nurtured and groomed by the coaches.”

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  • Tottenham miss chance to move level with Liverpool

    Tottenham miss chance to move level with Liverpool

    Tottenham miss the chance to move level on points with fourth-placed Liverpool as they are frustrated by Southampton at St Mary’s.

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  • Struggling Hamburg sack their coach Gisdol

    Struggling Hamburg sack their coach Gisdol

    After a fourth straight Bundesliga defeat, Hamburg reluctantly fired their head coach Markus Gisdol on Sunday with the club second from bottom of the league.

    “Parting ways with a coach prematurely is never something we would wish to do but we feel a fresh start might help us to stay up, which is our aim,” club chairman Heribert Bruchhagen told AFP’s German subsidiary SID.

    Hamburg have lost 12 of their 19 league games this season.

    Their latest defeat, 2-0 at home to rock-bottom Cologne on Saturday, was their sixth match without a win.

    Gisdol is the sixth head coach to be sacked by a Bundesliga club this season.

    “I would like to go home and let it sink in. I would have liked to have continued,” said Gisdol, who was informed of his dismissal at a 0900 meeting (0800 GMT) on Sunday.

    According to German daily Bild, former Hamburg midfielder Bernd Hollerbach, 48, who played for the club from 1996-2004, is set to take charge.

    “The decision to change (coaches) was unanimous, but it was not easy for us, there was no alternative. The new coach should solve the uncertainty in the team,” added Bruchhagen, without confirming who will take over.

    Gisdol lasted less than 15 months in charge, but Hamburg has been a revolving door in the last decade with no head coach managing to stay for two years.

    Experienced coaches such as Bert van Marwijk, Mirko Slomka, Bruno Labbadia, in two different spells, and Armin Veh all had brief stints in charge.

    The last to enjoy any success was Thomas Doll, head coach from October 2003 until February 2007.

    He steered Hamburg to the group phase of the Champions League in 2006/07 – their last appearance in European football’s top competition.

    It’s a far cry from the club’s glory days in the 1980s when Hamburg won the Bundesliga crown twice, were runners up three times, and lifted the European Cup in 1982-83.

    The post Struggling Hamburg sack their coach Gisdol appeared first on Vanguard News.

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  • Sanchez, Mkhitaryan set for medicals ahead of swap deal

    Sanchez, Mkhitaryan set for medicals ahead of swap deal

    Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez and Manchester United midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan were to undergo medicals on Sunday as their swap deal neared completion, reports said.

    Britain’s Mirror newspaper said Sanchez was due to arrive in Manchester with agent Fernando Felicevich, with a medical scheduled for Sunday afternoon, while Sky reported that Mkhitaryan would have a medical in London.

    The Mirror said the deals may not be officially completed until Monday as both Sanchez and Mkhitaryan are non-EU players and must have their work permits ratified by their new clubs.

    Sky Sport News showed Armenian international Mkhitaryan at a central London hotel on Saturday evening alongside agent Mino Raiola ahead of his expected move.

    Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and United manager Jose Mourinho both said they expected the two-way deal between the Premier League rivals to go through.

    Wenger said Chile international Sanchez was absent from the Arsenal squad on Saturday because he was close to completing a deal that has been in the making since United out-bid Manchester City for the former Barcelona star.

    “I expect soon or never,” Mourinho said after his side’s 1-0 win against Burnley. “I think it is so close, so close, so close that if it doesn’t happen it’s not going to happen.”

    “So I am positive, I know my people are doing everything they can — the owners with the green light, Mr (executive vice chairman Ed) Woodward working hard… and everybody is giving everything they can and I think they are going to be successful,” he added.

    Sky said it understood it could be a straight swap deal but details were yet to be finalised.


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  • Australian Open: Kyle Edmund reaches first Grand Slam quarter-final

    Australian Open: Kyle Edmund reaches first Grand Slam quarter-final

    Britain’s Kyle Edmund powers into a first Grand Slam quarter-final with a four-set win over Andreas Seppi at the Australian Open.

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  • CHAN: Super Eagles target group C top spot

    CHAN: Super Eagles target group C top spot

    After a hard earned win against Libya on Friday, Nigeria’s Super Eagles team B are aiming to beat Equatorial Guinea in their last group C match of the CAF Africa Nations Championship on-going in Morocco.

    CHAN Eagles

    Coach Salisu Yusuf disclosed that the team’s focus was to top the group and remain in Tanger with a win over Equatorial Guinea, who are already out of the tournament following their back to back loss to Libya and Rwanda.

    “We are thinking about the next match against Equatorial Guinea. Our goal is to win the remaining match to stay here in Tanger,” said Yusuf.

    He said that the game against Libya was difficult, adding however, that his wards worked hard to shatter the confidence of the Libyans.

    Sunday Faleye scored the winner in the 79th minute from Osas Okoro’s corner kick.

    “It was a very difficult victory. We faced a very good team in Libya, who created a lot of problems on the ground. Our opponents were more comfortable than we, backed by their victory against Equatorial Guinea in their opening match.

    “We advocated a strategy to close spaces. We studied the Libyan team. We changed our strategy compared to the first match.

    The post CHAN: Super Eagles target group C top spot appeared first on Vanguard News.

    Click here to read the full text by Emmanuel Okogba

  • Ambode vows to tackle Lagos roadside waste

    Ambode vows to tackle Lagos roadside waste

    Tobi Aworinde

    The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, on Saturday, allayed the fears of residents in the state over the resurgence of waste on major highways and streets.

    Ambode said the state government was on top of the situation and working round the clock to make the waste a thing of the past.

    According to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Habib Aruna, the governor spoke at Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja, after inaugurating the new board of the Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps, now headed by a retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, Daniel Isiofia.

    Ambode said the new waste management policy of the government, encapsulated in the Cleaner Lagos Initiative, was designed to holistically address the challenges in the sector.

    Ambode noted that adequate officials of LAGESC, transformed from the former Kick Against Indiscipline, had been employed to police all nooks and crannies of the state to curb indiscriminate dumping of waste and other acts inimical to clean, hygienic and sustainable environment.

    The governor, who was represented at the inauguration by his Special Adviser on Education, Mr. Obafela Bank-Olemoh, said concerted efforts were ongoing to clear the heaps of refuse across the metropolis, assuring the residents that there would be marked improvement in coming days.

    He said, “We are all living witnesses to the restructuring we are trying to do in the environmental sector. That restructuring culminated in the introduction of CLI, which is focused on ensuring that the way we clean Lagos is comparable to what is being done in first-class cities in the world.

    “As a result, we are changing the way environment in Lagos is being managed and to help us to achieve that, this sanitation corps is important.

    “But more important now is to speak to the fact that we are having some challenges in the area of waste management in Lagos today. We all live in Lagos but I want to reaffirm that we are doing everything to ensure that this become a thing of the past.”

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