Ok, I have to apologise because everyone has been asking me about the coverage of the 2012 Eko Sports Festival hosted by Lagos State and I am seriously behind on my blogging. So to try and play catch up, I have decided to start blogging with today’s events and then blog retrospectively later in the week. My main goal during the festival has been to cover as wide a range of events as possible. I have been particularly interested in the Nigerian Traditional Sports as I have never seen or heard of most of them before. They are actually quite interesting and I got some awesome shots, which I will share below. Today I covered Taekwondo, Table Tennis, Langa (Traditional hopping game), Weight lifting and Kokowa (Traditional wrestling). All the above events are taking place at the National and Teslim Balogun Stadia in Surulere. I’m hoping to be able to cover Athletics, Gymnastics and Swimming tomorrow but will have to see how the scheduling works out. Heads up – this is a super long post, so images may take a little while to upload. Hope you like them.
CROSS RIVER (Red) VS. OYO (Blue) (WOMEN)
Ojiugo from Cross River definitely meant business – she was super aggressive and a tad melodramatic, which made for an enjoyable match against Beetse. She won 14 to 11.
EDO (Red) VS. DELTA (Blue) (WOMEN)
I felt sorry for Ebieregues from Edo State as her opponent Otuadinma was nearly a foot taller than her. It didn’t stop her from putting up a good fight though. Unfortunately she lost the match (final score 22 – 10 to Delta).
LAGOS (Red) VS. RIVERS (Blue) (MEN)
As a Lagosian, I was very excited about this match but was a little underwhelmed by it all. The guys took forever to make a first move preferring to dance around in circles sizing each other up. I’m told this is how professional Taekwondo works and I’m no expert, but I definitely preferred the way their female colleagues went for it. Once they finally started sparring, it lasted only a couple of minutes with Ogunniyi from Lagos no match for Igwenyere. Final score was 2-1 (I think – it was pretty low).
Ok based on my research and watching a couple of matches, Kokowa is traditional Nigerian wrestling and the object of the sport is to throw your opponent to the ground. The first person to do it two times in a three round bout wins. Pretty simple unless of course the competitors keep coming to a draw, which makes it a little more complicated as I found out in one of the later games.
LAGOS (Red) VS. BAYELSA (Blue)
Opukary Agala from Bayelsa came out on top against Idris Ganiya. It was a good match though.
SOKOTO (Red) VS. GOMBE (Blue)
Shehu Dangubawo wasted no time showing Rabo Maigari how things are done in Sokoto. He seemed to have a lot of fans in the crowd as well.
OSUN (Red) VS. KOGI (Blue)
The hall was pretty dark, so it was a little difficult to get decent shots since we couldn’t use flash. Osun won 11-9.
Ok – based on what I saw today, this traditional Nigerian hopping sport is played in 2 parts by competing teams of six. In the first part, one member from each team must hop one legged towards the referee in the middle and the first person to get the cloth from him and get back to base with it wins a point. His opponent who doesn’t have the cloth must try and take him down before he gets back to base. The team with the most points wins this round. I’ll describe the second part a little later in the post.
LAGOS (Blue) VS. GOMBE (Yellow)
The Lagos team pretty much crushed this round winning 5 to 1.
Plateau State representative lifting 162kg (amazing!)
Lagos State representative Sadiq Jamiu lifting 164kg leading him to win the Gold Medal for weightlifting. The Chairman of Venues and Facilities, Chief Demola Sariki, was on hand to congratulate him. Go Lagos!
Female Kogi representative lifting 80kg
Female Ekiti representative lifting 82kg. Small but mighty indeed!
Female Lagos representative lifting 83kg
LANGA – PART II
In this round, it’s basically a one legged wrestling match and the object is once again to get your opponent to hit the ground. Once a player hits the ground, he is out of the game (so if you make your opponent fall but you fall as well, then you are both out and it is a draw). If a player wins his round, then he goes on to face the next opponent. The first team to run out of players loses. First team to win 2 rounds of this wins. (Obviously this is a very basic explanation of the rules so feel free to elaborate below if you know more about it).
OGUN (Yellow) VS. DELTA (Blue)
Watch out for the guy in the purple shorts on the Delta team. I call him the terminator – on the second round, he taunted his opponents with his physique and then quickly toppled them one after the other – 4 guys in a row. Total rockstar!
So this is the last guy from the Ogun team and the 4th guy to face the terminator. Knowing that there was no way he could beat his opponent, he decided the best option he had was to get a draw. So like David against Goliath, he absolutely went for it and finally felled the giant. Fantastic to watch.
DELTA (Red) VS. PLATEAU (Blue)
Although fairly evenly matched, Plateau’s Paulinus Obaje eventually lost to Afam Emmanuel from Delta State.
BAYELSA (Red) VS. ANAMBRA (Blue)
This was personally my favourite match of the day. When I saw Joshua Preye of Bayelsa, I knew that the match was only going to end one way. Although Uche Obieku put up a good fight, he eventually lost to his worthy competitor.
JIGAWA (Red) VS. KADUNA (Blue)
Kabiri Shayabu from Kaduna won this round against Matiya Kubu.
EDO (Red) VS. LAGOS (Blue)
Ok, so although I really wanted to go catch the swimming, I was excited to see the Lagos competitor, Ushe Abadu, and decided to catch some awesome moments as he crushed his opponent Shagu Gurumada. Unfortunately this was one of those matches where the competitors were evenly matched and after drawing 4 rounds (Langa usually lasts 2 – 3 rounds), with the fighters completely exhausted and officials talking about potentially disqualifying both guys, it was decided it was best to give them a break and figure out what to do with them later. I suspect they gave them another chance to duke it out for a winner to emerge but can’t say for sure.