Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games: Nigeria picks additional tickets in table tennis

first_imgRelatedPosts Canada withdraw from 2020 Olympic Games ITTF ranking: Aruna Quadri climbs to 18th spot  Visa renews Olympic partnership through 2032 The number of Nigeria athletes that will compete at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2021 continues to swell after Isau Ogunkunle and Faith Obiora are confirmed among the list of players that qualified based on their world ranking by the International Table Tennis Federation.From the 2019 African Championships held in Egypt, which served as the continental qualifiers, five Nigerians picked their tickets after emerging champions in their various classes to secure the automatic tickets to Tokyo. They are Tajudeen Agunbiade (M9), Olufemi Alabi (M10), Ahmed Koleosho (M3), Victor Farinloye (M8) and Faith Obazuaye (10).In a statement signed by ITTF Para Table Tennis Events and Classification Manager, Pablo Perez, Nigeria was listed among the 40 countries expected to compete in the table tennis event of the Paralympic Games.It would be recalled that Ogunkunle and Obiora finished second in Egypt to miss out from the automatic qualification but their world ranking secured the slots for them after consideration by ITTF.Ogunkunle, who is the national champion, will be making his debut at the Paralympic Games in the men’s class four, while Obiora, who is making her second appearance at the Paralympic Games, will be competing in the women’s class five.For the second Vice President, Nigeria Table Tennis Federation, Anderson Bankole, the qualification of the athletes was a result of efforts made by the federation. Bankole said: “I am so happy that Nigeria will present seven athletes at the games being the highest contingent to be presented by Nigeria in the table tennis event of the Paralympic Games.“I am sure and confident that we can win medals at the games because we have the quality players that can compete with the rest of the world.“I am also hoping that after the COVID-19, we can expose these players to top class tournaments across the world.”Bankole is the chairman of the Para Division of NTTF.The Commissioner of Police, who is a member of the ITTF Para Committee, however, congratulated the players for their efforts in putting Nigeria on the world map with their qualification, adding that Nigeria is one of the nations presenting a large number of players for the games ahead of Egypt, which has six qualified players. For Coach Sunday Odebode, the qualification of the players was based on their dedication and commitment to the sport while calling on more support for para table tennis.“I am confident that with more support for para table tennis, Nigeria has the capacity to sweep medals in the event because we have the quality players that can rival any team in the world. I hope and believe we can return home with medals from Tokyo,” said Odebode, who led the team to Egypt in 2019.Tags: 2019 African ChampionshipsInternational Table Tennis FederationParalympic Gameslast_img read more

Read More →

Whicker: Dodgers are taking advantage of the helium era

first_imgEleven pitchers went on the disabled list between 2011 and 2016 with blister problems, most famously the Dodgers’ Rich Hill. This year the Mets’ Noah Syndergaard and Toronto’s Aaron Sanchez have been blistered out of action.It isn’t a time for thin pitching skin. Last weekend featured 153 home runs throughout baseball, 12 more than in any previous three-day span. The Dodgers had 15 blasts in the Mets’ series, a franchise record, and have scaled the fence 36 times in the past 14 games.The major league composite ERA is 4.37, highest in 10 years. But the power game isn’t pumping across a record number of runs. The 4.69 average this season (according to Baseball-Reference.com) is far off the all-time mark for a full season. That is 5.55 in 1930.There is a consequence to becoming as power-hungry as Frank Underwood. Teams are striking out an average of 8.22 times, ahead of the all-time record of 8.02, set in 2005. The number has been edging upward for a while. Twenty years ago the figure was 6.62.“There’s obviously a correlation between home runs and strikeouts,” Justin Turner said. “I’ve found that when I’ve had periods of home runs, the strikeouts have also gone up. I guess you’d have to check how many home runs are being hit with two strikes.”Turner was onto something.Last year there were 1,712 home runs in MLB with two strikes. This year, not quite halfway through, there have been 836, ahead of that pace. In other words, nobody is choking up, taking two and going to left, the way your first coach told you.The defensive shifts are causing some hitters to concentrate on loft, because it’s harder, theoretically, to sneak grounders through the infield.“But when you have swings like some of the young guys have,” Collins said, “you run into trouble pitching down. And everybody is so accustomed to pitching down that not many guys know how to pitch up.”Four of the 21 hitters who have 18 or more home runs also have 89 or more strikeouts. Five players have at least 95 strikeouts already, with Keon Broxton, the Milwaukee rookie center-fielder, leading with 99.Joey Gallo of the Rangers is hitting .197 with 45 hits and 98 strikeouts. Not that long ago, numbers like that got you sent to Dubuque. But 19 of those 45 hits are home runs, and Gallo’s OPS is .807. So that’s fine.Who knew that hardening the ball would create such softball? Don’t ask the pitchers to search for answers, not if it means looking up.Editor’s note: This article has been corrected to show the correct totla for home runs last year with two strikes. LOS ANGELES >> Grant Dayton, the Dodgers’ lefty reliever, got a nice harmless popup the other night from the Mets’ Michael Conforto.Or so he thought.He turned and watched the ball refuse to descend, like so many in 2017. For a second, Dayton was beginning to wonder if gravity itself had been hacked. The ball relented and fell to Chris Taylor, but all pitchers know that all the skies are unfriendly.Going into Friday night, teams were averaging 1.28 home runs per game, a significant spike over 1.15 in 2016. That was third-most in baseball history, behind 1.17 in 2000, when the game was besotted with performance enhancers. You don’t hear the same whispers this year, primarily because players look normal, also because there is a drug-testing program that everyone wants to think is working. But maybe those drugs weren’t the total culprit in Barry Bonds’ day either.“We’ve been talking to the Pirates and the Brewers, their pitching coaches,” said Mets manager Terry Collins. “The seams on the ball are definitely lower. I think that’s why everybody is having blister problems all of a sudden. And there’s no question that the ball is harder.”That would certainly do it. In a game preoccupied with power, with exit-velocity numbers on the scoreboards as well as pitch speed, a harder baseball would promote bigger numbers and draw more fans and viewers. The helium will intensify in the upcoming summer heat.Dayton is familiar with major and minor league baseballs.“The ones down there are sewn by machines,” Dayton said. “The seams are raised more than the ones here, but the main thing about them is they’re all the same. The ones here vary from ball to ball, and they’re hand-sewn. You really don’t know how they’re going to reach or what you’ll get. But they’re harder than they used to be.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Read More →