Sported 7: Aruna finally gets the crown, 33 is the number

Aruna quadri
Aruna Quadri

Nigeria’s No.1 male Table Tennis player, Aruna Quadri finally assumed the position of the winner at the Nigeria Open after being a quarterfinalist in 2017; getting knocked out in the round of 32 in 2016; runners-up position in 2015, and a semi-final showing in 2014. Aruna was finally sported assuming the throne on Sunday, August 12, at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos. Aruna, world No.18, defeated Frenchman, Antoine Hachard 13-11 3-11 11-8 7-11 5-11 7-11 in the final to claim the $5000 prize money.

Messi wins record 33rd title with Barcelona

It was Lionel Messi’s first official title as Barcelona captain but his 33rd overall – a record for any Barcelona player in history. Messi made his debut for the Catalans in 2005 and was sported on Sunday in Tangier, Morocco, surpassing the record of 32 trophies, jointly held with the just departed Andres Iniesta by claiming the Spanish Super Cup with a 2-1 victory over Sevilla. Barcelona needed a last minute penalty save from Andre Ter-Stegen to take the title. Sevilla took the lead in the ninth minute through Pablo Sarabia and Barcelona had to wait for 33 minutes before they got the equaliser through Gerard Pique after Messi’s free-kick had struck the post and rebounded off the Sevilla goalkeeper. The winner was a thunderbolt from Ousmane Dembele’s right foot on 78 minutes.

Nadal wins 33rd ATP 1000 tournament

Rafael Nadal was sported in Canada, snagging his 33rd ATP Masters 1000 title, when he defeated birthday boy, Stefanos Tsitsipas, 6-2 7-6 in the Rogers Cup final. The world No.1 last won the title five years ago and put him in good stead for the last Grand Slam of the year, the US Open,that serves off on August 27. It was also the 80th career win in his professional career, taking him to fourth on the list of players with the most titles.

“If you told me this two weeks ago, I would not have believed it,” Nadal said in the post-match interview on court. “It’s a great way to start the hard-court season. Winning in Toronto is so important. You don’t win Masters 1000s very often. It’s a very important victory for me and I’m very happy.” We are also happy for you, Nadal.

Amuneke named new Tanzania coach

Former Super Eagles forward and Atlanta Olympics gold medallist, Emmanuel Amuneke, was sported in Tanzania, signing a two-year deal to take over the Tanzania men’s national football team. Amuneke becomes the fourth Nigerian coach to take the helm of a national team, after Stephen Keshi, who coached Mali and Togo; Christian Chukwu who coached Kenya albeit briefly, and Harrison Okagbue, who coached Uganda in 1999. Amuneke at his unveiling said, “We’ll work hard to continue the development of football in this country. Writing on Instagram, the 47-year-old said, “As a coach, you always want to take on new challenges and keep improving. Honoured to be given this opportunity to develop Tanzania football.”

Koepka joins the pantheon of golf greats

Brooks Koepka had to stay strong to fight off a resurgent Tiger Woods to win the US PGA Championship on Sunday. Koepka finished with a 16-under overall score of 264, and thus became the fifth golfer ever to win both the US PGA and US Open in the same year. Afterward, Koepka said, “other than me, my team, everybody was rooting for Tiger – It kind of pushes you to step up your game.” And step it up, he did. Meanwhile, Woods was sported in second place – his best finish in a major golf tournament for nine years.

Silva retires from Spain

Talented midfield supremo, David Silva, has announced his retirement from Spain’s national team. The 32-year-old was a part of La Furia Roja that won the 2008 European Championship followed by a first ever World Cup win in South Africa in 2010 and then confirmed their dominance at that time by retaining the Euro Championship in 2012. The left-footer played 125 times for his country and scored 35 goals. He will be greatly missed as he joins Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique in retirement.

And on a sad note…

Kenyan athlete died after a car crash

We lost Nicholas Bett, 28, in a car crash. The gold medallist from Beijing 2015 had been sported in Nigeria as he competed in Asaba 2018. He was the first athlete from Kenya to win any racing distance shorter than the 800m when he won the 400m Hurdles in Beijing. His car was reported to have hit a bump and crashed into a ditch where he died almost instantly.


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