Seven key sporting events that caught our attention March
- April 1, 2016
Nasarawa and Wolves crash out in African competitions
Nasarawa United and Warri Wolves were sent crashing out of the CAF Confederations Cup and Champions League respectively. In what appears an indictment of the Nigeria Professional Football League, Wolves fell 2-0 on aggregate to El Merreikh of Sudan while Nasarawa were beaten 4-1 on aggregate by CS Constantine. Enyimba also lost away to Vital’O of Burundi but qualified 6-3 on aggregate.
Nico is fastest in Australia
The 2016 Formula 1 season took off in Australia with Mercedes on pole with defending champion, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, fastest in the qualifying races. Hamilton then started on pole but Rosberg was fastest out of the blocks and took the first race of the season. And Fernando Alonso escaped a dramatic crash with his life as McLaren disintegrated but the Spaniard walked away unhurt.
Iwobi earns MVP on full EPL debut
Arsenal’s Nigerian teen midfielder, Alex Iwobi, was the cynosure of all eyes last week as he made his debut in the Champions League against Barcelona and then proceded to be handed a starting shirt against Everton. He justified Arsene Wenger’s confidence in him by scoring and winning the Barclays Player of the match award. Not bad for a 19-year-old, who has played only six league games all season.
Gayle strikes England again
Chris Gayle is always a newsmaker [for both the right and wrong reasons] but his majestic unbeaten century sent West Indies to a humbling six-wicket defeat of England in their opening match of the World Twenty20 in Mumbai. Gayle struck 11 sixes in his 47-ball hundred, the joint-third fastest in T20 internationals, to become the first man to score 200 runs in the World T20. He took West Indies to their target of 183 with 11 balls to spare.
Warriors win 50 at home
NBA defending champions, the Golden State Warriors shot 18-for-37 from three-point range to enable an easy 121-85 win over the New York Knicks at the Oracle Arena. The victory completed a 6-0 home stand for the Dubs, who have now won an NBA record 50 straight regular season home games. The Stephen Curry-led Warriors are also the first team in the history of the four American professional sports leagues to win 50 straight home games.
Russian athletes caught using Meldonium
After Maria Sharapova disclosed her use of the banned substance, Meldonium, more Russian athletes are falling. Russia’s athletics body disclosed that four track-and-field athletes have tested positive for the banned drug. At the last count 16 Russian sportsmen and women, which includes Sharapova and speed skating Olympic gold-medallist, Semion Elistratov, have been caught using the drug since it was banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency on January 1, 2016. Meldonium is popular in Russia and former Eastern bloc, having been invented in Latvia and used by Soviet soldiers to fight at high altitude in the 1980s. And finally…
Buffon sets second Serie A record
One of the greatest goalkeepers in the modern era, Gianluigi Buffon, broke a 22-year-old record when he went past 974 consecutive minutes without conceding a goal. Though he conceded a goal to Torino in the 48th minute, the 38-year-old World Cup winner broke the record, formerly held by Sebastiano Rossi in the fourth minute of the encounter. Buffon joined Juventus in 2001 from Parma for £32.6million, a transfer, which till today is still the highest for a goalkeeper in Italy and even in the world. Congrats to him, as he continues to show that hard work always pays off at the end.
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