Sport

Impossible to play under United States Open’s COVID-19 protocols, Djokovic says

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The United States Open, scheduled to begin on Aug. 31, will be the first Grand Slam to be played after the COVID-19 pandemic suspended the season in March.

The French Open was postponed to September while the Wimbledon championships was cancelled.

The suspension of the tennis season was last extended until the end of July but Djokovic, a three-times champion in New York, is not sure the tournament will go ahead.

“I had a telephone conversation with the leaders of world tennis. There were talks about the continuation of the season, mostly about the United States Open due in late August, but it’s not known whether it will be held,” Djokovic said.

“The rules that they told us that we would have to respect to be there, to play at all, they are extreme. We would not have access to Manhattan, we would have to sleep in hotels at the airport, to be tested twice or three times per week.

“Also, we could bring one person to the club which is really impossible. I mean, you need your coach, then a fitness trainer, then a physiotherapist.”

Djokovic suggested economic factors were behind the push to play the tournament.

“They want the tournament to go ahead at any cost for economic reasons, which I understand,” he said. “But the question is, how many players are willing to accept those terms.”

World number two Rafa Nadal had also said he would not travel to the United States in the present circumstances.

Nadal has also questioned whether tennis can restart with the pandemic still gripping large parts of the world and unless every player is able to compete.

“For me (it) is very difficult to separate the status that the world is living from my real perspective on the world of tennis, no?” Nadal said this week.

“We need to be responsible, we need to be sure that the situation is safe enough, and then of course try to come back to our tour when the things are clear.”

The United States leads the world in total cases, numbering over 1.9 million, while it has also recorded more than 109,000 deaths due to the novel coronavirus.
OLAL

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi (NAN)
)

https://nnn.ng/impossible-to-play-under-united-states-opens-covid-19-protocols-djokovic-says/

General news

Declare Badagry’s historical monuments protected structures, expert urges LASG

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A tourism expert, Mr Babatunde Ajose, on Sunday urged the Lagos State Government to declare the historical monuments of the ancient town of Badagry protected structures.


 

Ajose made the appeal at the Tourism Stakeholders’ Meeting organised by the Badagry Media Group in Badagry.

 

The meeting was tagged: “On the Proposed Delisting of Heritage Sites and Attractions by Lagos State House of Assembly’’.

 

The expert said that this would protect the historical monuments from destruction or delisting by any agent in the state.

 

According to Ajose, the recent call on the state house of assembly by a lawmaker for the removal of all historical monuments in Lagos State had put fear in the minds of the residents of the town.

 

“When the issue of delisting of historical monuments in Lagos was mentioned by a lawmaker during a sitting of the Lagos assembly, residents of Badagry started running from pillar to post.

 

“The local media in the town were writing different stories on the social media, people started castigating the people in the assembly.

 

“Even when the LASEMA was coming with their vehicles to access the extent of damage done by rainstorms in some communities in the area, they started crying, “they have come to destroy our sites’’.

 

“What I expect from them in Badagry is organise themselves on how to meet the people in authority and explain things to them on the implications.

 

“The stakeholders should find a way of meeting the lawmaker in question and educating him more on what we have in Badagry.

 

“We will tell him that all these monuments are still in existence in the United States, where the protest started from.

 

“What they are only pulling down is the monuments of slave dealers; all slavery museums in America are still there,” he said.

 

Ajose urged the stakeholders in Badagry to engage the council Chairman, Mr Olusegun Onilude, on the potential of tourism in the town.

 

“We need to meet the chairman of the council on the need to make bylaws that will protect the monuments from external attacked.

 

“Then, move to engage the lawmakers at the state level on the need to protect the structures,” he said.

 

Pastor Sunday Humyinbo, the Coordinator, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Badagry Chapter, urged the organisers of the meeting to work in unity to achieve it aim.

 

According to Hunyimbo, always speak with one voice in whatever you are doing.

 

He said no historical monuments from Badagry should be removed or destroyed by the state government, adding they serve as tools for revenue generation for some people.

 

Also speaking, Pastor Senahu Mofinleun, the Convener, Badagry Christian Heritage Festival, said that the town was waking up from its slumber, urging the organisers to be transparent in whatever they were doing.

 

He said that they are ready to mobilise people to support the cause so that the historical monuments of the land would be protected.

 

Mr Kehinde Avoseh, a representative of Zangheto from Ajido community, commended the media group for their efforts in organising the meeting.

 

According to him, we need one voice to be the bringer of good omen to Badagry heritage.

 

Mr Sewede Akande, the Founder, Citymood Communications, said the meeting was to brainstorm on the issue of delisting of historical monuments in Lagos.

 

He said that the stakeholders meeting would come up with ways to engage the Lagos State Government on best ways to tackle the issue.

 

Akande commended the critical stakeholders that attended the meeting, adding that they would meet again to present their take on the proposed delisting of historical monuments in the state.

 

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that on July 1, the Lagos State House of Assembly urged Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu to direct the Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, as well as that of Justice to look at sites and monuments in the state, to remove all vestiges of slave trade and colonial superiority.

 

NAN also reports that many local group and associations in Badagry, however, disagreed with the move.

 

Edited By: Idonije Obakhedo
Source: NAN

 

 

 

 

https://nnn.ng/declare-badagrys-historical-monuments-protected-structures-expert-urges-lasg/
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Osimhen’s Napoli capitalised on Parma mistakes as spectators return to Serie A

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Napoli on Sunday capitalised on two defensive mistakes to win 2-0 at Parma in their opening match of the season as spectators returned to Serie A for the first time since March.


Dries Mertens and Lorenzo Insigne got Napoli’s campaign off to a winning start with second-half goals shortly after club’s record signing Victor Osimhen was brought on for his debut.

A smattering of fans, wearing masks and widely spaced apart, watched the game at the Stadio Tardini.

This was after the Italian Government agreed to allow up to 1,000 spectators at matches from Sunday for the first time since the COVID-19 lockdown.

A cagey first half produced no real chances but Napoli came to life after Nigerian Osimhen, signed from Lille in the summer, was brought on in the 61st minute.

Two minutes later, Hirving Lozano crossed the ball into the area and Parma defender Simone Iacoponi headed his attempted clearance straight to the feet of Mertens who fired past Luigi Sepe from 15 metres.

Insigne struck the post from Oshimhen’s flick before Parma gifted Napoli a second goal.

Lozano intercepted a pass out of the Parma defence, his shot was saved by Sepe but Insigne snapped up the rebound in the 77th minute.

Parma, playing their first match under Coach Fabio Liverani, did little to impress new president Kyle Krause, Chief Executive of the United States-based Krause Group which took over the club on Friday.

(
Edited By: Yahaya Isah/Peter Ejiofor)
Source: NAN

https://nnn.ng/osimhens-napoli-capitalised-on-parma-mistakes-as-spectators-return-to-serie-a/
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Why FG is investing massively in railways, seaports — Amaechi

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The Federal Government’s focus on railway and seaport development is a necessity to drive the nation’s economy, according to the Minister of Transportation, Mr Rotimi Amaechi.


Amaechi stated this at the virtual 15th Annual Kaleidoscope Global Business Conference hosted by the Consulate General of Nigeria in New York on Sunday.

“Many Nigerians have asked why the construction of railways.

“Eighty per cent of the cargoes we have in Nigeria are mostly imported, because the Nigerian economy is yet to generate enough production.

“However, the president is of the view that if we must produce, we must have infrastructure that enables that production, hence the focus on transportation, power and works,” he said.

The minister said although the railway project had started before the President Muhammadu Buhari, the nation’s seaports were not included in the design.

He stated that one of the first things the administration did was to rework the plan to link the rail network to seaports across the country.

“So, we started with the Apapa seaport. We are working there now and I believe by December, we should conclude the Lagos-Ibadan rail line extension into the port.

“We then added the Warri Seaport, the Calabar seaport and Tin Can Island. We are making sure that all of them include seaports,” Amaechi said.

According to him, contract for the 386km rail line from Kano to Maradi in the Republic of Niger will be awarded on Wednesday.

He added contract award for the 1,500km eastern rail line from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri would follow on Sept. 30.

The minister highlighted other rail line projects in the country, including Abuja to Itakpe, and Itakpe to Warri, which he said had been completed

He said the Warri line would also be extended to the Warri seaport being developed by the federal government.

Amaechi also highlighted the government’s seaport digitalisation programme, which he said would be completed in 2021.

Mr Gurjit Singh, former Indian Ambassador to Germany, Indonesia and the African, described Nigeria as the giant of Africa.

Singh, who is the Chairman of the CII Task Force on Asia-Africa Growth Corridor, said the Nigerian rail sector had the potential to drive the nation’s development as was the case in India.

He urged Nigeria to take advantage of the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor initiative to access public private partnership funding for its infrastructure projects.

Organised by United States-based Kaleidoscope Business Project, the event brought together Nigerian state governors, ministers, business executives and prospective foreign investors.

The participants included Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau, Douye Diri of Bayelsa, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, Samuel Ortom of Benue and AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara,

The Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Pantami, and the Minister of State for of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Uchechukwu Ogah, also participated.

They took turns to highlight the investment opportunities that abound in their respective states and sectors in addition to the invest facilitation and security measures in place.

Welcoming the participants, the Consul General of Nigeria in New York, Mr Benaoyagha Okoyen, said the conference was part of the government’s efforts to open more windows of business opportunities in Nigeria to the world.

“With the opportunities that abound in Nigeria, this Conference aims at identifying those investors that are able, willing and committed to long term direct investment into the Nigerian economy.

“And it goes without saying that those from the Nigerian side are as desirous to meet investors in order to establish mutually beneficial relationships.

“Let me emphasise the need for us to jointly work together to enhance NIgeria economic growth and industrialization on our shared values and sound principles of mutually beneficial partnership and on a win-win business matrix,” Okoyen said.

 

Edited By: Felix Ajide
Source: NAN

 

https://nnn.ng/why-fg-is-investing-massively-in-railways-seaports-amaechi/
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Nadal stunned by Schwartzman in Italian Open quarter-finals, Djokovic survives Koepfer

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Defending champion Rafa Nadal crashed out of the Italian Open with a stunning 6-2 7-5 defeat by Argentine Diego Schwartzman in the quarter-finals on Saturday.


The nine-times Rome champion, who had won all nine previous meetings against Schwartzman, struggled with his serve throughout the match.

He made a series of uncharacteristic unforced errors that proved to be his undoing.

The Italian Open was the Spaniard’s first tournament in over seven months and while he cruised through the previous two rounds, his rustiness showed from the outset against the 15th-ranked Schwartzman.

Nadal committed 30 unforced errors to Schwartzman’s 17 and had his serve broken five times.

“Losing that many serves, you can’t expect to win a match,” Nadal said. “So that’s something that I have to fix. I know how to do it.”

Nadal will now travel to Paris, where he will look to clinch a record-extending 13th French Open title.

Schwartzman will face Denis Shapovalov in the semi-finals after the Canadian defeated Grigor Dimitrov 6-2 3-6 6-2 for his 100th tour-level match win.

Earlier in the day, Novak Djokovic overcame a mid-match wobble against Dominik Koepfer before securing a 6-3 4-6 6-3 win over the unseeded German and a semi-final spot.

The top-ranked Serb had sailed through the previous two rounds, his first matches since being defaulted at the United States Open for hitting a line judge with a ball.

But he faced a potentially tricky test when Koepfer levelled the contest at one set apiece.

However, Djokovic regained his focus to close out the victory and stay on course for his 36th ATP Masters 1000 crown.

He takes on Casper Ruud for a place in the final after the Norwegian battled past fourth seed and local hope Matteo Berrettini 4-6 6-3 7-6(5) in their last-eight clash.

“Clay is definitely Casper’s preferred surface. This is where he feels most comfortable. It’s semi-finals and it’s anybody’s game,” said Djokovic, who will be targeting his 30th victory from 31 matches this year.

“I’ll do some homework and be ready for that one.”

In the women’s draw, 2018 French Open champion Simona Halep advanced to the semi-finals when her opponent Yulia Putintseva retired due to a lower back injury while trailing 6-2 2-0.

The top-seeded Romanian will now meet Spain’s ninth seed Garbine Muguruza, who survived an early scare against Victoria Azarenka to beat the United States Open runner-up 3-6 6-3 6-4.

Halep said: “Every time I played well against her (Muguruza), I was as much as possible aggressive.

“If I play my best game, and if I feel great physically on court, I have a big chance to win the match. But every time is different, because she’s playing so hard. You don’t really know what to expect. It’s tough.”

Two-times champion and fourth seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, who skipped the United States Open to prepare for the claycourt swing, was stunned by Czech Marketa Vondrousova 6-3 6-0.

Number 12 seed Vondrousova will face compatriot Karolina Pliskova in the semi-finals after the defending champion survived a mid-match scare to beat Belgium’s Elise Mertens 6-3 3-6 6-0.

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)
Source: NAN

 

 

https://nnn.ng/nadal-stunned-by-schwartzman-in-italian-open-quarter-finals-djokovic-survives-koepfer/
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