Basketball

THE BIG 5: Heartbreak for Okagbare, Joy For Others In An Eventful Tokyo Olympic Weekend

As tradition requires, All Baller Zone brings you a roundup of the sporting stories that made the biggest headlines over the course of the weekend.

This Monday, we relive saddening news from the Olympics Women’s 100m, a historic feat in the Nigerian Professional Football League, a broken dream in the Men’s Basketball event, and two new Olympic champions.

This is this Weekend’s Big 5!

5: BYE BYE, D’TIGERS: Nigeria Crash Out Of Tokyo After Third Group Basketball Defeat

Nigeria senior men’s basketball team, D’Tigers on Saturday, got thrown out of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games after losing 71-80 to Italy in their last Group B game. The defeat came after they lost to Australia 67-84 in their group opener and 92-99 to Germany in their second Group B match. expectations were high that D’Tigers would get it right against the Italians.

It was an unexpected outing for the D’Tigers who rounded off their pre-Olympic preparations with impressive wins over the U.S. and Argentina in Las Vegas. Tokyo however, was devoid of such scintillating performances.

4: SISTERS-IN-SPEED: Jamaica Dominates Women’s 100m As Thompson-Herah Breaks Olympic Record

It was an all Jamaican show on Saturday as Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shelly-Ann Fryser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson swept the women’s 100m at Tokyo 2020 – repeating a feat only the Caribbean island nation has accomplished in Olympic history.

In an Olympic record and personal best of 10.61 seconds, Thompson-Herah defended her 2016 gold medal, also assuming the title of world’s fastest woman alive. She beat her top rival, Fraser-Pryce, by 0.13 seconds. Jackson won bronze in 10.76.

3: THE NEST OF CHAMPIONS: Uyo Erupts As Akwa United Win First-ever NPFL Title

It was the first of many to come for Akwa United on Sunday as they won the 2020-21 Nigeria Professional Football League title after defeating MFM FC 5-2 in their penultimate fixture of the season.

The triumph secured the Promise Keepers’ first-ever top-flight crown in their 25-year history and it is added to their trophy cabinet which has two FA Cups (2015 and 2017) and the Nigeria Super Cup (2016).

2: INCREDIBLE ENOCH: Adegoke Breaks 25-Year Men’s 100m Final Jinx

For the first time in 25 years, Nigeria had a representative in the final of the 100m men’s event at the Olympic Games, and it was 21-year-old Enoch Adegoke who broke that jinx on Sunday; qualifying for the final of 100m men’s event at Tokyo in 10.00secs in his semi-final race.

It would be the first time Nigeria made it to the final in the men’s 100m event since Davidson Ezinwa achieved the feat at the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games. The final, however, ended on a sad note for Adegoke who pulled up midway into the final with an injury.

1: DASHED HOPE: Okagbare Suspended From Tokyo Olympics After Failing Drug Test

2008 Olympics long jump silver medallist Blessing Okagbare’s Tokyo Games ended abruptly on Saturday after she was provisionally suspended following a positive test for human growth hormone. A piece of heartbreaking news for Team Nigeria who Okagbare was one of its strongest medal hopefuls.

Okagbare who had comfortably won her 100m heat in Tokyo with a time of 11.05 seconds, was forced to withdraw from participating in the games following the news from the Athletics Integrity Unit. Asides from the women’s 100m semi-finals, she was forced to withdraw from the women’s 200m as well as the women’s 4X100m relay.

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