The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has issued its decision in the appeal filed by Musa Hassan Bility against the FIFA Ad hoc Electoral Committee’s decision of 12 November 2015 (the FIFA AEC Decision) in which his candidacy for the upcoming FIFA presidential election was refused. The CAS has dismissed the appeal and upheld the FIFA AEC Decision.
The FIFA Ad hoc Electoral Committee noted that Mr Bility had failed to pass the integrity checks carried out by the Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee, and for this reason, could not be admitted as a candidate for the election for the office of FIFA President to be held on 26 February 2016.
In appealing to the CAS, Mr Bility sought to overturn the FIFA AEC decision in order to be able to run for the FIFA presidential election in February. At the request of Mr Bility, and with the agreement of FIFA, an expedited procedure was put in place to enable a final decision on the merits to be issued before the end of 2015.
The Panel of CAS arbitrators in charge of the procedure, Mr Hendrik Willem Kesler (Netherlands), Mr Muchadeyi Ashton Masunda (Zimbabwe) and Mr Bernhard Heusler (Switzerland) held a hearing with the parties on 23 December 2015 and has today issued his decision in which the appeal of Mr Bility is dismissed. The full award, with the grounds for the decision, will be issued in early 2016.
African powerhouses Kenya claimed their 9th historic Africa Nations Championship’s title in 2015 to maintain continental dominance far than all other continental arch rivals. Kenya beat North African giants Algeria 3-0 (25-17, 25-21, 25-20) in the final at Kasarani Indoor Arena in Nairobi, Kenya last June.
Kenya added their 9th title and third in a row to their studded history after 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 2005, 2007, 2011 and 2013, far ahead of Egypt and Tunisia with only 3 crowns each.
Kenya qualified to represent Africa in the World Cup in Japan gaining the 10th position among 12 teams.
Kenya also captured 4 of the 7 individual awards at the end of the competition; best setter: Jane Wachu, best Libero: Nafula Wanyama, best blocker: Ruth Jepngetich and MVP: Everline Makuto
Final Ranking of 2015 Women’s African Nations Championship
In a break from the norm, winds and storms dropped in and out on day three of the 45th Youth Sailing World Championships in Langkawi, Malaysia.
On a day when the winds were predicted to drop below the 20 knots the record 425 sailors had come accustomed to, it was the varying winds that kept everyone on there toes as the storms that threatened never fully materialized.
There were changes at the top of the leaderboards as more perfect days, and some not so perfect, were scored by the ever adapting youth sailors in a topsy turvy day.
As the yellow SL16 fleet hit the water, it was Australia first out of the blocks in more ways than one. They beat all the other boats to launch and then on the racing area.
Shaun Connor and Sophie Renouf (AUS) took the first two bullets of the class schedule, but it was more of a shock as today was the first time the team had been on an SL16.
A bubbly Renouf said, “Coming into the regatta we had never sailed the boat before, so we had been training on a few different boats to get used to not having a feel for the boat and knowing rig tensions etc, and it worked out for us. The boats are fixed settings so it lets us transfer on to it pretty quickly.”
It did indeed work for them. As the class is split and sharing boats with other countries, some of the SL16 settings have been fixed so all competitors are under the same restraints, ensuring fair racing. The Australians took a novel approach to the competition by essentially training to adapt and not know exactly what the boat will do. But not only was it the first time they sailed it, what makes their start even more remarkable was that while others where training on day two, they couldn’t. So it was quite literally the first time they had ever sailed an SL16.
Explaining their first try was Connor who said, “We were the first boat out on the water today to do a few warm up laps as we missed the training day. But we dominated the starts today.??”When we started racing we were really stoked to get off the line quickly and we carried it through. The first two races were really good, we finished first. The next two were alright…yeah?” As he checks with his crew. Renouf confirms and Connor continues, “But we made a few errors. We capsized once. Had an issue with the kite sheet. But it was a good day all round.”
After a blistering start, their later errors were USA’s gain. Mark and Anderson Brunsvold came back with their own pair of bullets in races three and four. Errors and the USA brothers late charge means that they shared the spoils of the first day with 4 points and the exact same place finishes (1-1-2-4).
If there were good starts in the morning’s yellow fleet, they were overshadowed by the afternoon’s blue fleet competitors, France’s Louis Flament and Charles Dorange.
Looking relaxed, as he should, Flament said, “The wind was strong and we have good skills in these conditions so we were very happy to go out on the water this afternoon. We won all the races so it was perfect.”
The returning Youth World Champions were indeed perfect. With four bullets they dominated the day and rightfully stand top of the leaderboard on three points.
Also in the blue fleet, New Zealand’s Tamryn Lindsay and William Mckenzie had a good day with a 2-4-2-3 score card. Those scores put them on 11 points and in fourth overall with the combined fleets scores.
The French duo sit top of the combined table with their perfect day. USA in second. Australia third.
Yellow and Blue fleets will be assigned this evening based on the days results. Each fleet will sail four races on 1 January in order to catch up on the schedule.
In the boy’s Laser Radial, Australia’s Alistair Young was coming off the back of a perfect day yesterday when he took two for two. He began day three with a discarded fifth place, but came back with a second to maintain his lead at the top.
With the Australian on nine points, his closest rival is Finland’s Oskari Muhonen who took a bullet and a fifth place and sits on 18 points. Muhonen moves up the rankings as he can know discard a 13th place from day two.
USA’s Nicholas Baird in third discarded a 23rd place in the final race with fourth overall Russia’s Kirill Evfimyevskiy discarding a DNF. Both will need to make sure they stay at the top in the final races to keep a medal hope alive. Puerto Rico’s Pedro Luis Fernandez took the bullet in that race.
While not at the top, someone learning a lot in Langkawi is Seychelles’ Martin Servina. Coming off the water early, a subdued Martin said, “I came back in because I had an injury to my side from the first race. I thought I could do the second race but I just couldn’t it was too bad. I sprayed some pain relief but it was impossible so I’m going to put some compress on it.”
Despite the immediate pain, Martin was still upbeat about his sailing. New to the Laser Radial class, which he learned at the Emerging Nations Program (ENP) clinic in Mozambique, Martin is using the Youth Worlds to develop his own skills and has a very down to earth outlook on the whole experience, “I personally think that if the wind was lighter, say around 15 knots rather than the 20 plus, it would be better for me. But it’s a new boat for me and I’m learning a lot from the other more experienced sailors. So it’s all good.”
Another ENP participant at the other end of the scale is Hungary’s Maria Erdi. She leads the girl’s Laser Radial following a bullet and second place for the day. With an aim of consistent races, the Hungarian is on track to achieve that goal as her lowest finish of a sixth place is discarded to leave her on 12 points.
Also on 12 points, Poland’s Magdalena Kwasna will be disappointed with a second and a tenth place in the final race of the day. The tenth place will be discarded, but with the Hungarian Erdi sailing well, Kwasna will not want to drop down the fleet in another race.
Third place overall is held by Germany’s Hannah Anderssohn who had a fifth and discarded sixth and has 18 points for the regatta.
Croatia’s Sandra Lulic gets the award for most diverse race results of the day. In the first race she had a DNC, which she then followed up with a bullet.
Aruba’s Youth Olympian Mack van den Eerenbeemt started day three with a second in the boy’s RS:X, but then slipped down the order with a frustrating day.
Taking the experiences he gained from Nanjing 2014, van den Eerenbeemt still came ashore with a smile on his face and an obvious love for a dog fight. For his second place, he described a tight and close fight for the finish line as ‘really fun’.
What wasn’t fun for van den Eerenbeemt was the next two races of the day, especially the final race. Despite a ninth place finish, and in total contradiction with his words, a beaming van den Eerenbeemt said, “The last race was horrible. I had a good start but I went to the wrong place again. On the first tack I got no wind and I was just standing still. The people going to the left had wind and kept planing, so when I rounded the last mark I was around last place, but I fought back to ninth.”
With a retirement on day one, was it something that was playing on his mind? “The first day was tough. My mast broke and it was mentally tough. I knew I couldn’t get a redress for it. As I rounded the last mark today I knew I needed to fight as that retirement was in my mind.”
As van den Eerenbeemt sits in third place on 35 points, he is just behind Argentina’s Francisco Saubidet Birkner who could only manage a fifth, ninth and a discarded 11th to finish the day on 30 points overall.
Still leading is France’s Titouan Le Bosq on 22 points. He ended the day with a bullet, fourth and a discarded 15th.
Four points divide the top three in the girl’s RS:X with Russia’s Stefania Elfutina in first on 15 points, China’s Xian Ting Huang in second on 16 points and Great Britain’s Emma Wilson in third on 19 points.
Before heading to Malaysia, Emma Wilson (GBR) decided that from the reputation of the Langkawi winds, she needed time to adjust, but it turned out she was in the right place all along, “I expected like 5-8 knots here. We even went to Spain to do a camp to try and get lighter winds as in Weymouth where I train it’s like 25 knots every single day, but that is really helping here now. I train in it all the time so I like the windy stuff. It’s more fun.”
Elfutina and Huang both took a bullet today, while Netherland’s Isis Hoekstra took the other. Hoekstra, along with the other three are pulling away from the rest of the field who have been taken by surprise with the wind Langkawi has to offer.
Hoekstra sits in fourth place with 25 points and a gap of 20 points has opened up to the rest of the competitors.
Still on top of the boy’s 420 is USA’s Will Logue and Bram Brakman despite a discarded sixth and a second place which gives them 11 points to date.
Challenging the Americans is Australia’s Alec Brodie and Xavier Winston Smith. They mimicked their rivals scores of a sixth and second, but with a ninth place finish on day two they carry their sixth place. Brodie and Smith have 16 points.
Climbing up to third with a perfect day was Leonardo Lombardi and Rodrigo Luz (BRA) who took two bullets and finished the day on 19 points. With their closes rivals having consistently higher finishes so far, the Brazilians needed the bullets to stay in touch at the top.
Australian’s Nia Jerwood and Lisa Smith still lead the way in the girl’s 420 as they took a bullet in the first race of the day. They could only follow that up with a 12th place though, but lucky for the duo they can discard the lower placement.
Jerwood and Smith’s Trans-Tasman neighbours, New Zealand’s Kerensa Jennings and Chelsea Rees took the other bullet of the day, but 15th place followed and they sit sixth overall on 35 points.
Second on the leaderboard is Poland’s Julia Szmit and Hanna Dzik who scored a second and third to put them on 14 points. Third place is held by Austria’s Angelika Kohlendorfer and Viktoria Puxkandl on 26 points.
New Zealand’s Jackson Keon and Nick Egnot Johnson had a perfect three from three on day two of the boy’s 29er, and followed it up with another two bullets on day three.
They lead the fleet on 22 points and were helped by second placed Norwegian brothers Tomas and Mads Mathisen having an OCS in the final race of the day. The siblings can discard that result but with a fourth and ninth in the other races they now sit on 29 points with Slovakia’s Peter Lin Janezic and Anze Podlagar. The Slovak’s finished the day with a 2-3-4.
Picking up the bullet that Keon and Johnson (NZL) left behind was Australia’s Kurt Hansen and James Colley. They are in fourth overall on 45 points.
In the girl’s 29er, Spain’s Carla and Marta Munte Carrasco moved to the top of the leaderboard with a first, second and third to sit on 28 points. They will be looking over their shoulder as they have a retirement that is discarded from day two which could come in to play with another bad race.
Just one point behind in second, Finland’s Sirre Kronlof and Veera Hokka had a second, eighth and a discarded ninth which drops them down from first and puts them on 29 points.
Denmark’s Laerke Graversen and Iben Nielsby Christensen make up the top three with 31 points.
With the majority of classes having a lay day, the SL16 class are the only class to continue the racing on New Year’s Day to make up for the missed races earlier in the regatta. The yellow fleet begin at 10:00 local time and the blue fleet at 14:00 local time.
Honouring the emerging National Federation during the 2015 CAVB Congress was one of the highlights of 2015 year.
During the Congress CAVB President Dr Amr Elwani called the presidents of 17 National Federation to be honoured with the CAVB order by the FIVB President Dr Ary Graca who expressed his happiness to see valuable volleyball and beach volleyball activity in new countries.
The 17 NFs honoured are Gambia, Cape Verde, Mali (Zone 2), Niger, Ghana, Benin (Zone 3), Congo Brazzaville, Sao Tome (Zone 4), Eretria, Somalia (Zone 5), Namibia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe (Zone 6), Mauritius, Madagascar (Zone 7), beside Egypt and Kenya who achieved a world class results.
Gambia: Emerged in Beach volleyball as they qualified to the semifinal stage of CAVB Continental Cup and won the regional phase gold medal in Women’s category and silver in Men’s. Orgaised successful refereeing and coaching courses.
Cape Verde: They participated in most of Beach volleyball competitions at the continental and zonal level beside the qualification for All Africa Games in both genders.
Mali: Organized courses at coaching and refereeing beside participation in Zonal competitions.
Niger: Emerged with a wide participation at the zonal and continental levels specially in beach volleyball. They participated in the Women’s Volleyball competition at All Africa Games.
Ghana: Showed a surprising performance in both men and women All Africa Games competition beside the great performance in beach volleyball qualifying also to the World Championship.
Benin: One of the pillars of Beach Volleyball in West Africa. Emerged in the zonal indoor and Beach competitions and qualified to All Africa Games.
Congo Brazzaville: Organised successfully All Africa Games as their team stands in the Podium for the first time with the silver medal in Men’s volleyball competition. They have been honoured to organise the prestigious Olympic Qualifiers.
Sao Tome: Appeared in the volleyball map for the first time with the organisation of courses and start regular local competitions.
Eretria: Showed start of local competitions and orgainse continental and international courses.
Somalia: Sponsored their local league which has become a more successful competition and organised a successful coaching course.
Namibia: Had a successful Beach Volleyball local tours and qualified to Beach Volleyball Semifinal at the CAVB Continental Cup.
Mozambique: Showed more progress in Beach Volleyball and won the silver medal of Men’s All Africa Games beside continuing the great local build up in infrastructure. Qualified to both men’s and Women’s All Africa Games in volleyball.
Zimbabwe: Were the models of starting the African Dream Project and had the first presentation during the congress.
Mauritius: Great activity in beach volleyball qualifying to All Africa Games and semifinal of the Continental Cup.
Madagascar: Orginised a historic zone 7 Club Championship with the participation of 13 teams. Organised a lot of courses at the zonal and continental levels.
Egypt: Won gold medal World League Group 3 and won 6 consecutive Africa Nations championship titles.
Kenya: stands in the Gold medal podium in Group 3 of the World Grand Prix. Won a record of 9 African Nations Championship’s title.
NFF President Amaju Pinnick has expressed confidence that the Senior Men National Team, Super Eagles, will qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals.
The qualification series for the 2017 Cup of Nations (to be hosted by Gabon) will be concluded in September 2016, but the Eagles have what is seen as a group-decider, double-dose against the Pharaohs of Egypt in March, while the qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, to be staged in Russia, begin in October 2016.
Pinnick spoke on Channels Television program, “Sports This Morning” on Thursday, where he also explained that a holistic solution being packaged for the women’s game in the country has been slowed down by the poor state of the economy, which hit hard at the company that was willing to pick the bills of the proposed expatriate Coach for the Super Falcons.
Nigeria’s number one football administrator paid glowing tributes to the contribution of ideas, toil and sacrifices of the Members of the NFF Executive Committee and Management, saying the bountiful harvests that Nigeria football reaped in year 2015 was the handiwork of a united and committed team. Admitting that the job of managing Nigeria football (where about 150 million of estimated 170 million population are ‘football coaches’) is a tough call, Pinnick assured that the NFF Executive Committee
and Management are equal to the task.
“I want to state clearly that it has never been a one-man show. The Members of the Executive Committee and Management have been excellent. We are a united team. The triumphs of the U-20 boys in Senegal, the U-17 boys in Chile and the U-23 boys in Senegal, as well as the qualification of the Eagles B for the African Nations Championship and the progress the Super Eagles have made are the results of a committed group.
“I make bold to say that year 2016 will be even better. We are looking to see the Eagles B win the African Nations Championship, the Super Eagles qualifying for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and starting the race to Russia 2018 on a sound footing, and also planning for the women teams to excel at their various international championships.”
The Super Falcons expect to qualify for the African Women Championship in Cameroon, while the U-20 girls have already qualified for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea and the U-17 girls are looking to reach the U-17 World Cup in Jordan.
The NFF supremo also assured that Super Eagles’ Head Coach, Sunday Oliseh, is getting better health–wise and experience–wise, and that the competence of his assistants to steer the team in the right direction in his absence has never been in doubt.
On the issue of the FC Taraba players’ sleep strike outside the State Government House to protest unpaid salaries and allowances, Pinnick said it was highly unfortunate but that the League Management Company is on top of the situation.
“I also want to add that going forward, the best option will be for us to have Clubs that are independent of government control; Clubs that are owned by communities and individuals. We will inter-face with the Governors’ Forum to kick-start this process.
“We know it will not happen in a month or two, or even in a year. But our objective is to have Clubs that are properly run, and stadia that are so friendly that whole families can go and watch football matches without any anxiety.”
On Wednesday, Pinnick stated that the plethora of awards being bestowed on his person and the NFF in general is testimony that the present administration is steering the Nigeria game in the right direction.
The Edo State Football Association honoured him as the ‘Football Personality of the Year’ at their Awards Nite that took place in Benin City same day. It would be recalled that leading national newspapers, The SUN and VANGUARD, have differently announced Amaju Pinnick as their ‘Sports Personality of the Year,’ at award ceremonies to take place in the new year.
With the end of the 2015 Tennis season, we at Newfanzone.com take a look at what happened during the course of the year in Nigeria, and also at the ATP and WTA levels.
Unlike the amazing year we had in 2014 when it comes to Table Tennis, this year performance from our athletes was a bit below expectation.
In the Month of March, we had the ITTF World Tour (Lagos Open) at the Molade Okoya Thomas Hall where big names on the Continent such as Omar Assar, Dina Meshref, Aruna Quadri, Ojo Onaolapo, Funke Oshonaike, Shagdy Magdy, Offiong Edem, and also Portuguese Stars such as Jieni Shao, Andre & Diogo Silva participated in the tournament. It was quite a poor outing for team Nigeria, where our only win came from the Men’s double final courtesy Aruna Quadri and Makanjuola Kazeem. The Lagos Open also showed that the future of Nigeria Table Tennis is promising if our administrators manage the crop of young players in the ranks such as Hassan Nurudeen, Muibat Bello & Ayobami Animashaun.
The All African games also showed that apart from Egypt, Congo has also grown as a real threat and are ready to challenge Nigeria come 2016 when it comes to playing tennis on the table with the likes of Wang Jinan, Yuheng Li & Han Xing.
Team Nigeria had a fairly good showing at the AAG, winning the men’s team event and other medals.
In Lawn tennis, we saw the return of the Governor’s cup in which 38 countries participated in. The farthest Nigeria could go in the competition was the Quarter-Finals where Chris Paul fell at the hands of South-African Lloyd Harris 6-1,6-0. The competition which took place at the Lagos lawn tennis club in Onikan was won by Antal Van Der Dium ( Male) and Conny Perrin (Female). The final also witnessed the presence of the Minister of Youths and Sports Barrister Solomon Dalong and the Governor of Lagos State Akinwunmi Ambode.
There were a few Positives to take home this year from Nigerian Tennis (especially Table Tennis) and with the necessary funds hopefully we would have a better 2016 when it comes to playing tennis either on the Table, Grass, Clay or Hard court.
The WTA Season
The WTA season this year was quite one sided as the big players were not good enough to stop Serena Williams from winning 3 Grand Slam titles (Australian Open, Roland Garros & Wimbledon). The American lost 3 games out of 53 which further proves how consistent she has been throughout this year.
World No.2 Simona Halep was disappointing this season winning just 3 WTA titles. Halep could not even take her opportunity when Serena was beaten at the US Open and her absence during the season ending WTA finals as she was beaten by Flavia Pennetta and Agnieszka Radwanska respectively. Maybe Halep needs to change her Coach in Darren Cahill as she seem not to be getting it when it comes to the Slams.
Spaniard Garbine Muguruza has had a wonderful 2015 and she would hope she takes this sort of form next year especially during the Slams.
The 22 year old had a blissful campaign this season as she ended the year as world No.3 (Youngest Player in the top 10) behind “Miss Consistent” Serena Williams and Simona Halep.
Muguruza has emerged top pick to represent Spain in the forthcoming Olympics and she would also team up with Carla Suarez Navarro and Rafael Nadal in the doubles.
Sharapova would need to be fit if she wants to have a go at any Grand Slam title this year. The former French Open Champion is still a winner any day, but she needs to be consistent and hope to be injury free come next season.
Player To Watch Next Season
Garbine Muguruza – The young Spaniard was very fantastic last season as she got to the final of Wimbledon which she lost to Serena Williams. Muguruza won WTA Singles title in this past season, and certainly the 22 year old would be eyeing a Grand Slam title come next season. With the epileptic form of her compatriots,apart from Serena,trust Muguruza to go all the way come next season.
The ATP Season
Novak ruled the Men tennis in this outgoing season with fantastic displays winning three Grand Slam titles in the process, finishing the year as No.1 and ranked 5th for the all time weeks at world No.1 moving past Rafael Nadal and John McEnroe in the process.
The Serb knows how to turn up in the Slams and how to defeat the big boys when it matters most. One sad thing on Novak’s mind this season would be his loss on clay to Swiss, Stanislas Wawrinka after he had defeated “The Master Of Clay” Rafael Nadal in the Semis. Novak would no doubt put in much effort to see if he could win that much coveted Roland Garros title come next season.
British No.1 Andy Murray, had had a fairly good season ending the year as the 2nd best player in the world. Murray who helped Britain win the Davis cup title after many years would have his sights at the Olympics in Rio come next season. Andy kept his manager Amelie Mauresmo at the end of this season which shows that he was satisfied with the level of performance he showed this season. Barring any injuries,Andy would give Novak a fight come next season.
Roger Federer also had a decent season, though the Swiss would still want to win a Grand Slam title. It would be very difficult for Federer come next season with the form of the two players ahead of him in the rankings. On his day, the Swiss Master who became the 3rd player in the Open era to win 1000 Grand Slam titles, would defeat any player that come up against him.
Rafael Nadal would hope to forget this past season as injuries hampered him from competing at his peak. The Spaniard would sure look forward to his favorite surface (Clay) as a great chance to win yet another Grand Slam title come next year.
Jo Wilfred Tsonga.
Player To Watch Next Season
Stanislas Wawrinka – The Swiss international just has a way of doing his business quietly and getting results. Wawrinka won Roland Garros this year and has been consistent all year long making the Semis of Grand Slam tournaments and also winning ATP titles. He would definitely be a dark horse next year in any Grand Slam competition and trust the Swiss not to disappoint.
The tennis has been fantastic this season from the local athletes to their foreign compatriots and we at Newfanzone.com believes 2016 would be a much better year where new discoveries would be made especially when it comes to Nigeria.
Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2015/2016 – Round 8, Mechelen
Germany’s Christian Ahlmann galloped to his third victory of the season at the eighth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2015/2016 Western European League at Mechelen in Belgium today. The competition came down to a 10-way decider against the clock, and, third-last into the arena, the 40-year-old rider and his brilliant 15-year-old stallion Taloubet Z produced another of their trademark thrillers to seal the result in style.
On a day when the focus was otherwise on all things Belgian however, home riders filled three of the top four placings and five of the top ten slots. Niels Bruynseels threw down an extraordinary jump-off performance with the nine-year-old Cas de Liberte to claim runner-up position, while Jerome Guery lined up third with Papillon Z. And fourth-placed Jos Verlooy has rocketed up to second spot in the Western European League standings after finishing fourth this evening with his nine-year-old gelding, Sunshine.
With 77 points now to his credit, Ahlmann has a 26-point lead over Frenchman Simon Delestre at the top of the series leaderboard with just three qualifying legs left to run. So along with Verlooy, Penelope Leprevost from France and young Belgian star Nicola Philippaerts, the 2011 FEI World Cup™ Jumping champion is well-qualified for the 2016 Longines Final which will take place in Gothenburg, Sweden in March.
Belgian course designer, Lucien Somers, set them a tough task with tall verticals, wide oxers and obstacles coming up at a rapid rate around his 13-fence track. This was no day for the faint-hearted, with absolute commitment required from horse and rider from start to finish, and Verlooy showed all of that when opening the class with a great clear from his relatively novice gelding.
There were consistent errors at the oxer at fence four, but the majority of mistakes were made along the line that followed, from the double at fence five – vertical to oxer – which led on a right-hand curve to the vertical at six and then on a left-hand bend to a big oxer at fence seven. The skinny planks at 11 also fell frequently, as did various elements of the following triple combination which consisted of a triple bar and two verticals before the last demanding turn to the final oxer which also took its toll.
A total of 10 found the key to the challenging track, but before the jump-off began there was an emotional tribute to Belgian jumping legend Ludo Philippaerts who retired from competition this year. During his stellar career he competed at four Olympic Games, three FEI World Equestrian Games, 11 European championships and in 13 FEI World Cup™ Jumping Finals. Amongst his many achievements, Ludo took individual European silver in 2001 and, with the great stallion, Darco, claimed European team gold in 1991. Yolande Wauters, wife of the late Eric Wauters who, 35 years ago, founded the Mechelen event which is dedicated to his name, made a special presentation to Ludo today, as did FEI President Ingmar De Vos.
With five Belgians into the jump-off, the home crowd had plenty to keep them on the edges of their seats, and they roared with excitement when Verlooy, who just turned 20 earlier this month, set a superb target when clear in 42.09 seconds. But it was Niels Bruynseels who really set the competition alight when, three horses later, he blazed through the timers in 39.37 seconds to put it up to the rest of the field.
His compatriot, Jerome Guery, has established a great bond with the former Gregory Wathelet ride Papillon Z and the grey raced home to slot temporarily into second place when crossing the line in 40.57 seconds. Ahlmann and Taloubet Z however followed that with a jump-off master-class, working in perfect harmony and taking a stride out on the gallop to the last to shave 0.15 seconds off Bruynseels‘ target.
There were still two left to run, but when Great Britain’s Laura Renwick and the ever-more-promising Bingtang ll posted their clear in 42.47 seconds that would slot them into fifth place leaving only 2014 Longines champion, Daniel Deusser, left to challenge. The German rider who lives in Mechelen hit the last fence in a valiant effort with First Class van Eeckelghem and had to settle for sixth place.
Ahlmann admitted that he was feeling “quite confident” going into today’s jump-off. “Taloubet did a great job in the first round and gave me a super feeling – when he’s in that shape I can ride fast and take the risks. To be honest, he just played with the fences today – he has produced some really great rounds over the last few weeks, but this one was possibly the best!” he said.
Runner-up, Niels Bruynseels said he wasn’t in the least disappointed with such a close second place. “No, I’m very happy, my horse is only nine and this was her first World Cup. It is a dream for every rider to win a competition like this in their home country but it was very close, and with Christian to come I knew it wasn’t over. Maybe if I made one stride less to the last, who knows….”, he mused afterwards.
Following his victory with Codex One in Stuttgart in November which was quickly followed by another with Taloubet Z a week later and now his third success today with the same great horse, Ahlmann will be one of the hot favourites when the 2016 Longines Final gets underway in Gothenburg in three months’ time. He’s already looking forward to it, but is no hurry to decide which of his brilliant string he will take to the Swedish fixture.
It could be Taloubet Z, but first the stallion will take a well-earned break. Asked this evening about restoring the horse which earned him the coveted FEI World Cup™ Jumping trophy four years ago to his best after a long injury break, the German rider said, “it’s always a big challenge for the whole team to keep horses fit for many years, and to bring him back now in such great form when he is almost 16 is only possible if you have a really strong team behind you. We are all very happy and very proud that Taloubet is really enjoying himself again!” Ahlmann added.
For further information on the eighth leg of the Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2015/2016 Western European League at Mechelen (BEL) go to http://www.jumping-mechelen.com
The next leg will take place in Leipzig (GER) on 17 January 2016. For details of the German fixture visit http://www.engarde.de
Result: 1, Taloubet Z (Christian Ahlmann) GER 0/0 39.22; 2, Cas de Liberte (Niels Bruynseels) BEL 0/0 39.37; 3, Papillon Z (Jerome Guery) BEL 0/0 40.57; 4, Sunshine (Jos Verlooy) BEL 0/0 42.09; 5, Bintang ll (Laura Renwick) GBR 0/0 42.47; 6, First Class van Eeckelghem (Daniel Deusser) GER 0/4, 39.36; 7, Lacan (Patrick Stuhlmeyer) GER 0/4 40.88; 8, H&M Forever D Arco ter Linden (Nicola Philippaerts) BEL 0/4 41.38; 9, Amelia (Karim Elzoghby) EGY 0/8 40.28; 10, As Cold as Ice Z (Judy-Ann Melchior) BEL 0/15 53.61.
Longines FEI World Cup™ Jumping 2015/2016 Western European League leaderboard – after Round 8 at Mechelen (BEL):
1. Christian Ahlmann GER – 77
2. Simon Delestre FRA – 51
3. Jos Verlooy BEL – 50
4. Penelope Leprevost FRA – 45
5. Nicola Philippaerts BEL – 42
6. Henrik von Eckermann SWE – 38
7. Harrie Smolders NED – 36
8. Daniel Deusser GER – 36
9. Marco Kutscher GER – 36
10. Romain Duguet SUI – 35
11. Max Kuhner AUT – 33
12. Marcus Ehning GER – 32
13. Douglas Lindelow SWE – 31
14. Patrick Stuhlmeyer GER – 31
15. Steve Guerdat SUI – 30
16. Emanuele Gaudiano ITA – 28
17. Laura Renwick GBR – 28
18. Patrice Delaveau FRA – 27
19. Scott Brash GBR – 27
20. Audrey Coulter USA – 26
The Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF), has named a five-man Local Organising Committee for the forthcoming ITF /CAT Africa Junior Championship West and Central Africa Zonal Qualifiers billed for 9th -17th of January, 2016 in Abuja.
The body, which is tasked to ensure a flawless hosting of the championship, has the Vice-President of the NTF Yemi Owoseni as chairman while Bulus Hussein, Rotimi Akinloye and Seidu Musa are members. NTF Scribe, Gloria Ekwempu-Chiwunko will serve as secretary.
This will be the second time that Owoseni, who is also the vice president of the Confederation of African Tennis Zone 2 will be saddled with the task of leading a team to organize a major championship hosted by Nigeria as he was the head of the Main organizing Committee for the 2010 AJC which was also hosted in Abuja.
The championship which serves as the CAT Zone 2 qualifiers for the Africa Junior Championship in South Africa in May 2016 is expected to feature about 80 players from 12 countries.
Nigeria is hosting the zonal qualifiers for the second time in three years having hosted and won the event in 2014. Nigeria is also the defending champion as the junior team won the championship in Lome, Togo early this year.
Meanwhile, Nigeria will open camp for the championship on Sunday with 36 players. National junior tennis coach, Mohammed Ubale said all invited players are expected to arrive camp on Sunday evening with training scheduled to commence on Monday morning.
“We have sent out letters to the players early so that we can follow the programme that has been drawn for the players while they are in camp. We don’t want to take chances because our target is to get at least 16 of our players to the main championship in South Afrcia.
“Aside that, we have been the team to beat in this championship and we are determined to sustain our dominance as far as the zonal qualifiers are concerned,” he said.
It was a weekend to remember as TurboCrest Sports and La Cabana Lounge entertained Lagosians to an amazing weekend of gravity defying rugby at the 2015 edition of the Sandie Beach rugby fiesta.
The 2 day event kicked off on the 26th of December with kids from schools around the Island converging at La Cabana lounge to enjoy a wonderful day of tag rugby, All Stars defeating the Island Seahawks by 4 tries to 2 to emerge as the inaugural champions while Agborodo Abuka was named the SBR player of the tournament.
Day 2 witnessed an amazing display of transition play amongst home and international teams from Benin Republic, the tournament saw amateur side, Kels RFC qualify as table toppers in Group A while South West league side Gosar RFC emerged second; In Group B, The knights of Racing qualified top of the group and amateur side Gazelles came 2nd. The first semi finial witnessed a shocker as the young Gazelles knocked out team Kels who were the defending champions while the 2013 champions, Knights of Racing defeated hapless Gosar by 4 tries to 1 in the second semi finals.
The final between Gazelles and the Racing Knights took fans on a roller coaster ride with Gazelles going 2 tries up in the first half; the knights fought back to draw the game in the second half, but proceedings went the way of the knights through a last minute try from festus Nwasor. Racing’s Mike Eneji emerged as player of the tournament.
Organiser of the event, Ayo Olatunbosun Johnson and C.E.O of TurboCrest Sports expressed his gratitude to God, PZ Cussons, GlaxoSmithKline, My Family mobile, the rugby fraternity and the general public for trooping out to witness the event, he also thanked the Nigeria Rugby Football Federation Vice President, Olatunji Fasimoye for his generous support and assistance towards the event.
He promised that the next edition will be bigger and better as sandie beach has come to stay in Nigeria
Stanley “Edo Boy” Eribo, who on Saturday, became the national light welterweight boxing champion after he defeated Sunday “Capo” Olalekan by knockout at the GOtv Boxing Night V, which took place at the Indoor Sports Hall of the National Stadium in Lagos has applauded the organisers for making him a millionaire.
Speaking shortly after he was adjuded as the best boxer of the night, Eribo said his emergence was not a fluke, “I want to use this oportunity to thank Flykite Productions for making me a millionare, this is a stepping stone for me and I want to use this platform to become a world champion.”
Eribo was adjudged the best boxer of the night, winning the cash prize of N1.5m and the Mojisola Ogunsanya Memorial Trophy. In another explosive title fight, Olaide “Fijaborn” Fijabi dethroned Sadiq “Police Machine ” Ahmed as the national welterweight champion.
Fijabi, who made his professional debut last year at the GOtv Boxing Night, was not in the charitable mood of Christmas as he thumped the Police Machine into a daze.
The former champion became unsteady and unable to continue in the fifth round. In the night’s major bout, Nigeria’s Waidi “Skoro ” Usman lost the chance of becoming the African Boxing Union featherweight champion when he lost to Edward “Ring Messiah” Kakembo of Uganda by a split decision.
The Ugandan, who boasted pre-match that beating Skoro would be his Christmas gift to his countrymen, was better on the night. He was lightning-fast in offence and clever in defence, evading Skoro’s punches.
In the national super middleweight challenge contest, Rasheed “Afonja Warrior ” Abolaji defeated Sunday “Golden Child” Ajuwa by unanimous decision. Sponsored by GOtv, the event was supported by MultiChoice, SuperSport, Paragonis Multimedia Limited, Newsbreak.ng, KSquare Security, Brila FM and Bond FM.’
Several stakeholders in Nigerian football have deduced different reasons for the success of Nigeria football. However, a major
stakeholder in Nigerian football, particularly at the grassroots level, has come out to state that it is not uhuru.
Speaking during an exclusive interview in his office in Lagos, Alhaji Gafar Olawale Liameed, President of 36 Lion football club, Lagos, praised the achievements recorded by the country at the youth level, he was however, quick to state that more work need to be done in order to replicate the same successes at the senior national team level.
He went ahead to admonish all stakeholders and football administrators in the country, to transfer the same Energy and Zeal that worked at the youth levels to the senior side. “You begin to wonder why we haven’t been able to achieve similar success at the senior team level.
Everybody has a share of the blame, “Gafar, remarked, “It all comes down to our character. Our football culture lacks character. Our players at the senior team, have consistently displayed a lukewarm attitude whenever they are called to play for the country,” the Lagos FA board member lamented.
He continued: “Have you watched the Germans, Spaniards and even the Americans play for their countries? You will marvel at their hunger, passion, patriotism and the zeal to win. Unfortunately, that is not the case with our national team players”.
In recent times, the only game I watched and saw our players show hunger, determination and dignity to win ,was the 2013 AFCON
Championship held in South Africa. It was the quater-final match against Cote D’lvoire, which we won 2-1,” Gafar said.
According to him, “immediately our players get into the senior national team, their character changes, they begin to display that unsavoury attitude of “what has Nigeria done for me” ? Painfully, 80 percent of these players, if they have not played in the U-17, U-20 and U-23 teams of this country, there is no way foreign clubs would consider them for contracts, the hardworking and unassuming football administrator, concluded.
Day two of the 45th Youth Sailing World Championships saw some perfect sailing for a chosen few as the big breeze was back in Langkawi, Malaysia.
The record numbers of 425 sailors from 76 nations had winds to mimic day one with 20 knots blowing which eased off later in the day which again tested the young sailors with tricky shifts. With the discard now coming in to play, there were changes in the rankings and those that put the hammer down to move up in the overalls.
There were some that handled it perfectly and just couldn’t lose on day two.
The girl’s 420 was the first of the perfect days. Austria’s Angelika Kohlendorfer and Viktoria Puxkandl took two bullets to make up for the ‘middle of the road’ first day. With the discard now in play the duo can count their bullets along with a 13th place whilst discarding a 17th from the first race of the regatta. It pushes them to fifth in the rankings, but they know they haven’t got the room for manoveure that their rivals have.
One of those rivals is Australia’s Nia Jerwood and Lisa Smith. Just behind in both races with two second places, the pair top the leaderboard on five points. So what did Jerwood think of the day? “We had a really good one. The wind picked up towards the end which we like to get in to our speed groove. We got two seconds, but the Austrians were planing too fast on the upwinds and got by us both races, but it was a good day for us.”
It was a good day as they maintained their high finishes, and with the weather forecast looking similar all week, Smith was certainly happy for what is to come, “We definitely like the windier weather. It’s what we prefer and its good because we weren’t expecting it here in Langkawi. Its definitely kicked up for us and it’s more like home when it’s like this so we are more comfortable in this and we know we can go fast.”
While both the Austrian’s and Australian’s were in their groove today, Poland’s Julia Szmit and Hanna Dzik didn’t have quite the same luck. They still sit in second overall on nine points after a fourth and a discarded 13th but from hereon in they will be looking to get back to the standard they set on day one after posting two top three finishes.
Creeping up on the Polish pair and rounding out the top three are USA’s Christine Klinger and Victoria Thompson who have 10 points after a discarded seventh and third today.
Always up and around the top of the boy’s 420 are USA’s Will Logue and Bram Brakman. With three second places and a discarded third, they can’t seem to find that elusive bullet, but lead overall on six points.
The first bullet of the day went to Ireland’s Douglas Elmes and Colin O’Sullivan who sit in third on 14 points with last year’s Youth Worlds gold medallist Singapore’s Jia Yi Loh, now sailing with Matthew Lau, in fourth. Loh and Lau had an average day by gold medal standards with a discarded 12th and a sixth place.
So is the weight of a gold weighing on his shoulders? From his demeanour and words, I think not, “I’m sailing with a different crew and we know this place is tricky and the fastest sailor may not necessarily win. It’s all about how you play the shifts and anyone here could win, and that’s why I think it’s taken off some stress.”
Singaporean sailors generally have a reputation for excelling in lighter winds due to their build, but Loh isn’t letting the strong winds that Langkawi is throwing at them hinder his chances, “We are fine with any winds. In Singapore we get light winds, but then we are on the heavy side so we are fine in strong winds as well.”
Picking up the other bullet of the day were Finland’s Eklund brothers, Jacob and Anton. With middle order finishes in all their other races, the brothers will hope that the bullet will bring a change in fortunes and is a sign of things to come.
The perfect day continued in the boy’s 29er as New Zealand’s Jackson Keon and Nick Egnot Johnson took three bullets. Reminiscent of their compatriots and current Rolex World Sailor of the Year winners, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, they dominated the day in their class. But is it right to make that comparison, Nick doesn’t think so as he says with a wry smile, “Not really. Those guys have won every single regatta. We wish we could do that. But those guys are role models for sure.”
So back to the days racing. The duo must have felt something was clicking today. Surely they would be happy with the results, but with a calm demeanour helm Jackson simply said, “We had a good consistent day. The breeze was up and it helped us a bit to get some bullets. We would be happy with anything but we seem to be doing well in the strong breeze so we can’t complain.”
Three bullets can be considered some pretty consistent racing, and Jackson knows that consistency is the key going forward, “We need to just keep chipping away at it and making sure we get top fives in each race and not doing anything too stupid. Today was definitely a confidence boost for us but every day is different so we have to hope for some consistent racing.”
With the New Zealanders in second overall on 15 points, they lay just behind Norway’s Tomas and Mads Mathison. On 12 points, the brothers have been quite consistent themselves. On day one they were top three in all of the races. Moving on to day two, they had their lowest finish of the regatta with a fourth which they can discard. If consistency is the key for this one, then Norway are certainly leading that category.
With a 5-6-3 for the day, Slovenia’s Peter Lin Janezic and Anze Podlagar sit in third on the leaderboard with 20 points.
It may have been an up and down day for Finland’s Sirre Kronlof and Veera Hokka in the 29er girl’s, but they still hold first in the rankings.
It seemed to be a rollercoaster ride all day for the girls. They started the first race well, but couldn’t capitalise on it with a seventh place. They followed it with a bullet in the second and then slipped back to fourth in a much closer third race.
Much like the team that they are, Sirre began explaining their day, “We didn’t have a good start…”, Veera took over, “Well we did have a good first start, but we took the wrong shifts so we weren’t doing to well at the first mark.”
Back to Sirre, “The second race was great though. We won that with a good lead so it was nice. The third race we came fourth but it was super close. All four boats came in within about 30 seconds of each other so it was tight.”
The 29er boy’s talked about consistency, but Sirre and Veera couldn’t quite manage it today as Sirre reflected, “Obviously we would like pretty stable results, like top three all the time. Not so much up and down. But that’s just the competition we have here. We try and do our best and with only one drop you have to try for stable results.”
For now they lead, but closing in are New Zealand’s Greta and Kate Stewart who did what the Finnish girl’s couldn’t with a stable bullet and two second place finishes. Those results leaves them in second place overall on 15 points, just three behind the leaders.
Not to be outdone by the New Zealand siblings, Spain’s very own sisters took the other bullet of the day. Carla and Marta Munte Carrasco took the final race of the day, which made up for a DNF in the previous race. Those results coupled with a sixth place finish mean that they stand on 22 points and fifth overall.
Poland’s Aleksandra Melzacka and Maja Micinska are in third on 18 points with a fourth, fifth and discarded ninth on day two.
Anything Austria and New Zealand can do, Australia can do as well as. Alistair Young (AUS) is the third person of the day to save all the bullets for himself. A two from two today, added to another bullet picked up in race one means he can discard a fourth place finish and sit top of the class on three points.
His nearest rival is USA’s Nicholas Baird who can only seem to finish in either third or fifth. With 11 points the American needs to break out of the trend and aim to knock Young off the bullet train.
Finland’s Oskari Muhonen and New Zealand’s George Gautrey are level on 12 points with very similar days. Finishing in the top three, both teams discard results in the teens for the last race of the day.
In the girl’s Laser Radial, Poland’s Magdalena Kwasna took a bullet and a third place to discard her fifth place from day one and sit in first overall on five points.
The ever calm Maria Erdi discarded a sixth place finish and moved up to second place with a bullet in the final race of the day. The Hungarian shares nine points with Germany’s Hannah Anderssohn who posted a second and third.
Russia’s Stefania Elfutina began the day with a fourth place in the girl’s RS:X. Not content with that result, she took a bullet and second place that enables her to discard that fourth and lead the class on eight points.
Again just behind and nipping at the Russian’s heels is China’s Xian Ting Huang. With two second places and a third, the consistent high places means she sits second overall on ten points.
With an alternating trend of fourths and firsts (4-1-4-1-4-1), Great Britain’s Emma Wilson is in third on 11 points. The Briton will be hoping for more bullets than fourths to move up into the medal places.
Joint on points, France’s Titquan Le Bosq and Argentina’s Francisco Saubidet Birkner have 12 apiece with the Frenchman taking a bullet in the second race.
Brazil’s Brenno Francioli took the second win of the day. He also had a sixth, a fifth and he sits in fourth (overall) with 20 points. Third bullet and third place overall goes to Aruba’s Mack van Den Eerenbeemt.
The SL16 were out on the water today after the final pieces of equipment arrived following a shipping delay. With a fantastic job by the sailors who helped to complete the set up, they were out on the water by the afternoon.
A session of checks and training followed and the Race Committee confirmed, in agreement with the sailors that racing will commence on 31 December. They will sail four races on Thursday and will use 1 January, the rest day, to catch up on some races missed
Racing continues at 10:00 local time on 31 December.