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Ijebu Ode residents hold rally for Tobi Amusan

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Hundreds of youths and women in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State held a rally in celebration of hurdler Tobi Amusan, who on Monday became the first-ever Nigerian athletics world champion and record holder, The PUNCH reports.

Ijebu Ode-born Amusan, 25, ran a time of 12.12secs – shaving almost a tenth of a second off the previous world record held by American Keni Harrison (12.20secs) – in the semi-finals of the World Championships in Oregon, USA, before going on to win gold in the final at the Hayward Field stadium.

The Registrar, Our Lady of Apostles Secondary School, Ijebu Ode, Adeeko Lateef, said Amusan’s former training mates joined up with the students of the school on Monday, prior to their National Examination Council exams to recite the national anthem.

The rally was held in front of the roundabout in front of the school.

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“Tobi’s (Amusan) feat put the school’s name on the global map of the world,” Lateef told The PUNCH.

“She finished from the school in 2011 and was part of our relay team back then. She was a quiet girl who always kept to herself but on Monday we had to join the rest of the town in celebrating her feat.

“All the students see her as an inspiration because as small as she was back then, nobody gave her a chance to succeed, but she defied the struggles to excel.”

Adigun Kemisola, a petty trader at the Dipo Dina Stadium, said Amusan’s victory changed the mood around the sporting arena, saying the traders cashed in to make brisk business.

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“She (Amusan) is fondly called ‘shanko’ because of her stature, but she always gave her best each time she came to train here. The entire Ijebu Ode has been in festive mood, her pictures were carried around the stadium and some of the traders who know her closely posted her picture at the doorway of their shops to attract customers.

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Oladayo Adefisoye, a boxing coach, said the rally was held to ensure that the Ogun State Government and the Federal Government honoured Amusan properly.

“She deserves more than a MON award. We all saw how Laycon, who won the 2020 Big Brother Naija Lockdown edition, was rewarded with cash and awarded honours by the Ogun State Government,” Adefisoye told The PUNCH.

“She was the smallest in training but the most active. I have never been this proud as an Ijebu Ode man because I was part of the coaches who ensured that she stayed focused on her training, alongside coach Ayodele Solaja.” Solaja, who said he scouted Amusan from OLASS in 2009, told The PUNCH, “I have an academy where I train young athletes in Ijebu Ode and for two years I never noticed her, until she won her inter-house sports race in 2009. It was at that point I started noticing her and focusing on her.

“This was an athlete who started out as a footballer, but because of her small stature, she switched to sprint and there was her glory,” Solaja added.

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EPL: Arteta makes Premier League ‘guarantee’ after Champions League exit

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Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta has promised that the team will be “fully focused” on the Premier League title race after they exited the Champions League on Wednesday night.

The Gunners lost 1-0 to Bayern Munich in Germany and 3-2 on aggregate.

Arteta’s men’s only chance of winning silverware is in the Premier League where they are two points behind Manchester City.

Arsenal are away to Wolves on Saturday, having lost 2-0 at home to Aston Villa last weekend.

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“We have to be close to the players. What they need to do is stand right next to them, give them our support and our love.

“We have to pick it up because we have a big, big game on Saturday.

“We really want it and we have to show that we’re capable of turning it around,” Arteta told reporters.

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Dortmund ready for PSG rematch after epic win over Atletico

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Borussia Dortmund are relishing a rematch with Paris St Germain in the Champions League semi-finals. This was after knocking out Atletico Madrid in a thrilling tie on Tuesday to set up a meeting with the French side they played in the group stage.

Dortmund overturned a 2-1 deficit from their quarter-final first leg against Atletico to win 5-4 on aggregate.

They will now renew their acquaintance with PSG, who beat Barcelona 6-4 over two legs to book their semi-final berth.

Dortmund coach Edin Terzic feels his side, who won the Champions League in 1997, are now better prepared to face the French champions.

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This was after the Germans lost away and drew at home in the group stage.

“Our first game against them wasn’t good. In the second game, we adjusted to them better and were closer to victory.

“I think we’re a better team today than we were against them in the group stage,” Terzic said, following the win over Atletico.

Midfielder Julian Brandt, who opened the scoring in the first half for Dortmund, could scarcely believe that his side had made it through to the last four after taking a two goal-lead, conceding two goals, and then scoring twice more.

“It was a crazy game for the fans and for us. A great game for us, for our fans and for all football fans around the world,” he said after receiving his man-of-the-match award.

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“It’s going to be very serious now against Paris. We played well against them at home in the group stage, but not well away. We want to do better now and, of course, reach the final,” he added.

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For striker Niclas Fuellkrug, who also got on the scoresheet, the Champions League semi-finals will be a new experience.

“I’ve never played at this level before and I’m very proud to be in the semi-finals of the Champions League with my team,” he said.

“Things will certainly be different against Paris than in the group stage.”

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Kaka’s ex-wife denies saying she divorced footballer for being ‘perfect’

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Caroline Celico, the former wife of Brazilian football legend, Ricardo Kaka, has debunked reports making the round that she broke up with the football star because he was too “perfect for her”.

According to her, she broke up with Kaka on mutual grounds, and they have been nurturing their two kids together.

Kaka and Celico married in December 2005, and their marriage produced two children: a son, Luca Celico Leite (born June 10, 2008), and a daughter, Isabella Celico Leite (born April 23, 2011).

10 years after their marriage, they parted ways with none of them saying the reason for their divorce until Sunday after a fake quote suspected to be a statement from Celico went viral.

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The statement read, “Kaka never betrayed me; he always treated me well, and he gave me a wonderful family, but I was not happy; something was missing. The problem was that he was too perfect for me.”

It has since sparked speculations from fans across the world, with some condemning her and others saying that she probably was not happy being with the 2007 Ballon d’Or winner.

However, taking to her Instagram story, Celico debunked the viral statement on her divorce from Kaká, labelling it as not only ‘false’ but also ‘fake’, while speaking on her future with her current husband, Eduardo Scarpa Julião.

The chef and food content creator wrote, “For those who haven’t heard from me for a long time… or have never heard before.

“And are UNFORTUNATELY hearing some fake news and FAKE quotes. Let me update you:

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“I got divorced almost 10 years ago, from those 14 years of relationship there are 2 lovely teenagers.

“It’s been almost 8 years. I am with my husband Eduardo, and we are having our first child next month.

“I have a lot of respect for my lifetime story, and I am very grateful for everything I have lived so far. My ex-husband and I found a healthy way to raise our children, and I’m so grateful for this.

“Please be welcome to my social media, which is a place I share about many subjects, such as family, work and spirituality, with a lot of respect and love.

“Thank you.”

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Recall that the former AC Milan and Real Madrid midfielder remained a single father for about four years before deciding to marry a Brazilian model named Carolina Dias.

Meanwhile, Kaká’s ex-wife and her husband are also expecting their first child together.

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