Another Nigerian Boxer Out Of Olympics!

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Team Nigeria continued with their poor performance at the London 2012 Olympics Monday afternoon, when one of their boxers, Lukmon Lawal lost his round of 16 Light Heavyweight bout 19-7 points to Ihab Almatbouli of Jordan.

The lone Jordanian boxer jumped out to an early lead before dominating in the rounds two and three of the bout.

Lawal, who had promised to do Nigeria proud in London, opened up carelessly, as his opponent punched him out with superb jabs, courtesy of a right hand and left hook.

Almatbouli, who sent the Nigerian out, faces Julio Cesar la Cruz of Cuba, who dominated the Light Heavyweight field in the 2011 World Amateur Boxing Championships.

Before Lawal’s exit, his boxing compatriot, Akanji Muideen and the entire Table Tennis team, comprising of four players crashed out of the Games over the weekend, while Jonathan Akinyemi, Nigeria’s first Olympic slalom canoe competitor also lost out on Sunday, lasting just 190 seconds.

Despite the flop of Team Nigeria in London, Minister of Sports Bolaji Abdullahi, says he is confident that some members of the team will still win medals.

Abdullahi spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in London on Monday against the backdrop of the early defeats of two boxers and the entire table tennis team.

He said that the defeats came in spite of Nigerian team’s impressive preparation ahead of the games.

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He said that the harmony and cordial relationship amongst the athletes and officials would ensure that Team Nigeria’s outing to the tournament was successful.

“Perhaps the most important achievement coming to this competition is that all of us are on the page unlike in the past nobody is quarrelling, nobody is fighting with anybody.

“You have not heard that the NSC and NOC, that everybody is fighting and so all of us are in the same page. You can see the federation here. I think that is a major achievement and that will form the basis for other things that will come.

“We have tried very hard, we have prepared very hard, we‘ve had the best preparations going into a major tournament like this.

“So, it is my hope that our preparation will be good enough to take us a step forward from our previous performance. I am confident that things will go well in the end. I have reasons to believe we are going to win medals.
“But if we don’t win medals we would have learnt important lessons on why we didn’t win medals because I have had opportunities to meet so many ministers of sports from different parts of the world.

“I have had the opportunity to discuss with them on what they are doing and how they are doing it. And let me tell Nigerians something; the last reception I attended, which was organised by the minister in Great Britain, so many sports ministers of countries in West Africa were asking for help from Nigeria.

“They want us to give them technical support; so, just like as we are looking up to other people for assistance, there are so many other people looking up to us for same,” Abdullahi said in London on Monday, urging Nigerians to pray for the success of Team Nigeria.

By Bimbo Ajayi

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