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Month: August 2019 Page 2 of 11

Melvin Obinna Ejim – Canadian Basketball Player will run up in Olympic 2020 Games

Melvin Obinna Ejim is a Nigerian-Canadian professional basketball player for Unicaja of the Liga ACB and EuroCup. He played college basketball for Iowa State University before playing professionally in Italy and Russia, as well as the NBA Development League.

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Melvin Obinna Ejim – Canadian Basketball Player will run up in Olympic 2020 Games

Melvin Obinna Ejim High school career

Ejim attended St. Mary’s Ryken High School in Leonardtown, Maryland, where he made the 2007 Provincial team before transferring to Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. In 2008–09, he averaged 12.3 points and 4.6 rebounds per game for Brewster. In his final year in 2009–10, he averaged 13.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 2.5 assists per game, leading Brewster to a 34–4 record and a National Prep School championship.

Melvin Obinna Ejim College career

Ejim started 30 games out of 32 in his freshman campaign for Iowa State, averaging 10.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, shooting 48.6 percent from the field (121-249 FG) and tallied 39 steals, second-best total on the team. He became one of just 13 Iowa State freshmen in school history to average double figures in scoring, and his 214 rebounds were the third-best rookie total in school history.

One of Iowa State’s top post players, Ejim started 29 games out of 34 in 2011–12, averaging 9.3 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. He earned Big 12 Honorable Mention accolades and was a first-team Academic All-Big 12 selection.

One of the best forwards in the Big 12 in 2012–13, Ejim earned All-Big 12 third-team honors and was an NABC All-District 8 second-team selection; he was also privileged as the initial Big 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award winner and was a Capital One Academic All-District 6 selection. Ejim became the first Cyclone to lead the Big 12 in recovering (9.3 RPG) since Jackson Vroman and was just the third player in Big 12 antiquity to lead the league in rebounding at 6’6” or shorter.

As a senior in 2013–14, Ejim had one of the best seasons in school history, earning Big 12 Player of the Year honors and All-America honors from five organizations. Ejim was a finalist for the Oscar Robertson Trophy, became the fifth Academic All-American in school history, earned Capital One first-team Academic All-America honors and was named the Big 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the second time. He became just the fourth player in league history to record 1,500 points and 1,000 rebounds in a career, finishing his career with the most wins of any Cyclone men’s basketball player at 88 wins. He also finished 12th in scoring (1,643), second in rebounding (1,051), tied for 10th in steals (146) and 15th in blocks (59); he also broke the school record for games played (135) and games started (126).

2014 on February 8, Ejim scored a Big 12-record 48 points against the TCU Horned Frogs in the Hilton Coliseum, surpassing Michael Beasley and Denis Clemente who had 44 points in 2008 and 2009 respective.

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Melvin Obinna Ejim Professional career

After going undrafted in the 2014 NBA draft, Ejim played for the San Antonio Spurs during the Las Vegas Summer League. He then moved to Italy for the 2014–15 season, signing with Virtus Roma. In 29 league games for Virtus, he averaged 7.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. He also averaged 8.1 points and 4.3 rebounds in 18 EuroCup games.

After initially signing with German team Medi Bayreuth for the 2015–16 season, an impressive stint with the Orlando Magic during the 2015 NBA Summer League led to a training camp contract. He was waived by the Magic on October 21 after appearing in four preseason games, and subsequently joined the Erie BayHawks of the NBA Development League. He was waived by Erie on March 16, 2016. In 39 games, he averaged 14.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Days later, he signed with Italian team Reyer Venezia Mestre for the rest of the season. In 16 games for Reyer Venezia, he averaged 9.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game.

Melvin Obinna Ejim Picture
Melvin Obinna Ejim – Canadian Basketball Player will run up in Olympic 2020 Games

On June 17, 2016, Ejim re-signed with Reyer Venezia Mestre for the 2016–17 season. In June 2017, he helped Reyer Venezia win the Italian League championship while earning the Finals MVP.[20] In 46 league games, he averaged 10.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He also averaged 10.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.4 steals in 22 BCL games.

On July 12, 2017, Ejim signed with Russian club UNICS for the 2017–18 season. In 30 league games, he averaged 9.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. He also averaged 9.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.2 steals in 19 EuroCup games.

In June 2018, Ejim re-signed with UNICS for the 2018–19 season. In 23 league games, he averaged 8.5 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. He also averaged 7.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 14 EuroCup games.

On July 25, 2019, Ejim signed a 1+1 deal with Spanish club Unicaja.

Melvin Obinna Ejim National team career

In June of 2012, he played for his motherland Nigerian national team on their tour of China. In July 2013, he played for the Canadian national team at the World University Games, where he averaged eight points and four rebounds per game. In July 2015, he was named on the Canadian national team roster for the Pan American Games. He also played at the Tuto Marchand Cup and FIBA Americas Championship in 2015. In 2016, he represented Canada at the FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

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Artistic swimming: Great Britain’s Duet aims to qualify for Tokyo 2020

A total of 10 teams and 22 duets will be aiming to gain qualification for next year’s Olympic Games at three events during the next 12 months. One team place and two duet spots will be up for grabs at the LEN Cup, taking place in St Petersburg, Russia.

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Artistic swimming: Great Britain’s Duet aims to qualify for Tokyo 2020

Duet of Great Britain’s Kate Shortman and Isabelle Thorpe will be a command to seal an Olympic sport at the first available opportunity – although the standard of the competition is likely to be ‘exceptionally high.

The team that wins the LEN Cup, and therefore books their place at the Olympics, will also have their duet automatically entered.

One further duet place can be secured by the winning pair or the next best-ranked duo at the LEN Cup if the gold medallist’s country had also won the team event.

Should Great Britain’s team or duet not qualify in the first instance, five more team spaces will be available at the FINA World Championships in Korea, in August, and the Olympic Games Qualification Tournament, in Tokyo, next April. Seven duet spots can also be worn at the Olympic Games Qualification Tournament.

Shortman and Thorpe will be competing in Tokyo between 27-29 April in the fourth leg of the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series.

The duet impressed during the first leg of the competition in Paris when they set a new personal best score for their karate-themed routine.

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Artistic swimming: Great Britain’s Duet aims to qualify for Tokyo 2020

They will then team up with Victoria Usher, Daniella Lloyd, Millicent Costello, Greta Hampson, Ilaria Brandimarte, Cerys Larsen, Cerys Hughes, Laura Turnerville and Isobel Blinkhorn for the LEN Cup.

The team’s confidence will be boosted by the silver medal they won at the FINA Artistic Swimming World Series in Paris in the free combination final.

Russia will be the first time this season that the Great Britain squad will compete in the technical, free and combo team events.

Karen Thorpe, Swim England Artistic manager, said: “We are expecting the standard in Russia to be exceptionally high as we’re a year out from the Olympic Games.

“The duet hopes to place and score well as a stepping stone towards the World Championships in July and we are hoping to be as close to 80 points in all the team events.

“It’s going to be a busy few weeks but all the athletes have been working hard on a camp in Bristol and are relishing the opportunity to perform on these big stages.”

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Nations and schedules confirmed for Olympic 2020 hockey

The nation’s rival at the test event for hockey at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games next week has been confirmed. Olympic followers from all over the world can buy Olympic Hockey tickets online.

The contest, part of the “Ready Steady Japan” test event series, will be held at the newly built Oi Hockey Stadium from next Saturday to Wednesday. Eight sides – four men’s and four women’s – will take part.

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Nations and schedules confirmed for Olympic 2020 hockey

Japan, India, Malaysia, and New Zealand will contest the men’s contest, while Australia, China, Japan, and India feature in the women’s competition. As well as providing competitive hockey at the new venue, the primary purpose is as a dress rehearsal to ensure all facilities and operations are perfected before next year’s Games.

India is the highest-ranked men’s team, currently fifth in the International Hockey Federation (FIH) world rankings. Eighth-ranked New Zealand is bringing a strong team, including Captain Blair Tarrant, who has nearly 200 international caps.

Malaysia, 12th in the world, is in good form after beating Germany, Spain, and Ireland on a tour of Europe, while hosts Japan – world number 16 – will gain valuable top-level experience prior to the Olympics. In the women’s competition, world number two Australia, who missed out on winning the inaugural FIH Pro League to the Netherlands by the penalty shoot-out in the final, are the favorites.

Hosts Japan surprisingly beat India in the 2018 Asian Games final, meaning both India and China are not guaranteed an Olympic sport and are looking for form ahead of qualifying later this year. Both tournaments will see the four teams compete in a round-robin stage, with the top two sides qualifying for the final.

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Nations and schedules confirmed for Olympic 2020 hockey

The opening games take place on August 17 with India against Japan and Australia versus China in the women’s event, followed by India versus Malaysia and New Zealand against Japan in the men’s competition. The 2020 Olympics begin on July 24, with hockey getting underway the following day.

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Artistic Swimming – Canada has gained a place with a duet gold in Olympic 2020

Artistic Swimmers, Jacqueline Simoneau, and Claudia Holzner established a pre-swimming regular routine to calm their nerves when they joined forces as an artistic tandem. It involves a declaration of trust and a reference to a Disney character.

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Artistic Swimming – Canada has gained a place with a duet gold in Olympic 2020

Simoneau, of Chambly, and Calgary’s Holzner combined to defend Canada’s artistic swimming duet title Wednesday at the Pan American Games and earned Canada a spot at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the process.

The Canadian duet finished first with a total score of 180.0343 points. And Mexico was second with 174.3661 points scores, and the United States was third with 170.6698 points scores.

“It was such a superior moment,” Holzner said. “Before we swam our coach was like, ‘Jackie, go for a second Olympics,’ and ‘Claudia, become an Olympian.'”

Simoneau and Holzner payback to the pool later Wednesday as part of Canada’s nine-swimmer team in the competition, with another Olympic berth on the line, and took the top of the platform for the second time with 179.6731 points. Mexico took the second position with 175.1243 points and the U.S. scored 170.8114 points.

Simoneau and Holzner, who were both followers of Canada’s gold-medal winning team entry at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto, started swimming together as a duet in 2017. Simoneau said she and Holzner came up with a unique pre-swim routine the moment of their partnership was fashioned.

“We hold each other’s hands and we look each other in the eye and we say, ‘I trust you.’ And then there’s a secret word that we say right before we go.”

“We came up with this the moment we started swimming together. It’s a ridiculous word, but for us, it just means having calm confidence. It’s Perry. Perry the platypus. It’s a TV character on the Disney show “Phineas and Ferb.”

Canada's Artistic Swimming a duet
Artistic Swimming – Canada has gained a place with a duet gold in Olympic 2020

Canada swept artistic swimming events at the Toronto Games, with Simoneau and Karine Thomas gained duet gold to go with the team victory. Simoneau and Thomas went on to place seventh at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Later Wednesday, gymnast Ellie Black of Halifax added to her record Pan Am medal haul with a silver medal in the women’s beam event, her fifth medal this year. Black won 10 medals from the last two Tournaments to become Canada’s most adorned Pan Am gymnast.

Black had a chance at an 11th medal but finished fourth in the floor competition. There was extra good news for Canada, though, with Brooklyn Moors of Cambridge, Ont., winning gold.

“It’s unbelievable to come away with one more medal,” Black said. “It’s great for this team that we’ve done so well.”

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Women’s Baseball World Qualifier: Canada falls in aslant loss to the USA

Mexico – After three wins to open the COPABE Women’s Baseball World qualifier, the Canadian Women’s National Team dropped its first game of the tournament in a 21-4 lopsided loss to Team USA on Wednesday.

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Women’s Baseball World Qualifier: Canada falls in aslant loss to the USA

The squad from north of the border notched eight hits in the matchup, the offense led by multi-hit games from 16-year-old Ellie Jespersen and 21-year-old Kelsey Lalor, but couldn’t solve the American pitching any further. Team Canada’s staff was undone by eight-run frames from the USA in both the fourth and seventh to dig into a hole too deep to climb out of.

“It’s a wakeup call,” Canadian manager Aaron Myette said. “We were chatting before the game about how we came out flat yesterday, and then we came out a little flat today, lacking intensity. As a group, what we can take away from that is that we need to be on point for every game.

“We’ve got to be prepared and not just come in and hope that we get things started later in the game. We’ve got to start from the minute we show up to the park, be mentally prepared and focused on each game.”

The Americans scored 21 runs on 23 hits, also capitalizing on five walks and four errors from the Canadian national team to earn their fourth straight victory of the qualifier, while Canada moves to 3-1 in the tournament.

“They’re a fantastic team,” Myette said of the USA. “They have a ton of good arms and a very strong lineup. The runs and hits speak for themselves. They hit balls hard today, and you have to give them credit for hitting pitches hard. We made a lot of mistakes and got away from our strengths and our game plan, and pitched into their strength and their game plan. That’s an adjustment we have to make.”

Amanda Asay got the start for the Canadian squad and the 14-year national team veteran allowed four runs (three earned) on four hits with three strikeouts, before making way for two relievers.

The leader on a team with 10 different players from last year’s bronze-medal winning World Cup squad and eight players facing international competition for the first time, Asay hopes the young team can learn from Wednesday’s game to help it as it moves forward in the event.

Woman's Baseball Canada
Women’s Baseball World Qualifier: Canada falls in aslant loss to the USA

“Luckily, this came in the middle of the tournament,” Asay said. “It may be a devastating loss because of the score, but not so devastating in the standings, which is nice. It’s not the worst thing that we got to experience a loss before we came to the end of this tournament because it will be good to build from here and to have something to come away from and refocus us a little bit. Our game against Cuba didn’t go as smoothly as we would have liked, so this is a wakeup call that we can all take away from.”

Heading into Thursday’s matchup against Venezuela, before Team Canada takes on Puerto Rico and Mexico ahead of Sunday’s medal games, the squad’s skipper hopes his players can learn from the loss and quickly look ahead to what’s next.

“I’d like them to individually look at their performances and self-assess where they could have been more focused – that’s the first step,” Myette said. “As a group, they’ve got to understand they’re not going to go through their whole lives undefeated, but it’s about what we do now. We got our butts kicked, but it’s baseball.

“We have another game, we have another day, and we’re not out of this. We’re going to look at what we could have done better, make adjustments and come out stronger, more aggressive and more focused. The feeling we had today sucks, so we’re going to come to the park with the mentality that we’re not letting that happen again.”

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Olympic 2020 – Topmost Lithuania Men’s Basketball Rosters

Lithuanian team won the last EuroBasket tournaments previous to World War II, in 1937 and 1939. The 1939 team was running by Frank Lubin, who helped TO promote basketball in the country and was named the “grandfather of Lithuanian basketball”.

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Later the refurbishment of Lithuanian independence in 1990, the national Lithuanian Basketball team was revived. Lithuania gained bronze medals in the first three Olympics to include NBA players – 1992, 1996, and 2000 – in addition to finishing fourth in 2004 and 2008, and in eighth place at the London 2012 Olympics. The Lithuanian team gained the FIBA EuroBasket for the 3rd time in 2003, and also won a bronze medal in the 2010 FIBA World Championship.

Lithuanian Basketball Rosters

Mantas Kalnietis

Mantas Kalnietis
Olympic 2020 – Topmost Lithuania Men’s Basketball Rosters

Kalnietis has a lot of intriguing aspects as a point guard: he has good size for the position at 6’5”, has the speed to allow him to stay on the floor regardless of the matchup, and has a wealth of experience in the program.

He’s been the lead playmaker for Lithuania for the past fourteen years and while he’ll be well into his 30s by the time the Olympics take place, the experience is always going to be the most valuable commodity in international basketball.

Sure, he has a skinny frame and he’ll never be a go-to scoring option for a team, but he’s the scrappy defender and consistent playmaker that Lithuania will be looking to have to lead the office in two years’ time.

Jonas Maciulis

Jonas Maciulis
Olympic 2020 – Topmost Lithuania Men’s Basketball Rosters

If I had to describe Mačiulis’ game in a single word, it’d be “scrappy.” Maciulis plays like the middle-aged guy in every pickup game that knows that every game might be his last: he’s throwing elbows, scrambling for every loose ball, and dodging picks like Neo from The Matrix.

His effort and willingness to leave it all on the court is definitely his calling card, but Mačiulis can also spread the floor and can score pretty well in the paint, especially when he’s crashing the offensive boards. Basically, he’s an ideal “jack of all trades, master of none” type of guy.

Domantas Sabonis

Domantas Sabonis
Olympic 2020 – Topmost Lithuania Men’s Basketball Rosters

As a son of Basketball Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis, Sabonis has already had more exposure to the game at just 22 years old than most people have in their entire career. Sabonis began his professional career at 16 before heading to Gonzaga to compete in the NCAA for two seasons, eventually getting drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft.

Heading into Tokyo in a couple years, Sabonis will likely be the most talented player on the Lithuanian roster, if he isn’t already. In his sophomore season with the Pacers last year, Sabonis has a fairly pedestrian year in terms of statistics, but his game had clearly evolved and grown from the year prior.

He was in better shape, extended his range, started to work on using his right hand, and was a much stronger presence on the interior. Despite his youth, this steady development is promising and is a big reason why I think he’ll be starting for Lithuania in 2020.

Jonas Valanciunas

Jonas valanciunas
Olympic 2020 – Topmost Lithuania Men’s Basketball Rosters

Having two Jonas’ in the same starting lineup is a bold move and one I always recommend against for the sake of confusion, but it’s impossible to keep the face of Lithuanian basketball off the starting lineup.

Valanciunas became the face of the Lithuanian program not simply because his beard makes him look like he just strolled out of the mountains of Juozapinė Hill, but because he’s poured years into the program to help bring it to the height that it’s reached today.

Heading into his seventh season in the NBA and with 10 years of experience under his belt with the national team, Valanciunas will be entering Tokyo as one of the most experienced and matured players the roster has to offer.

In terms of on-court production, Valanciunas will be the best interior defender on the team, a valuable scorer from the post and the midrange, a reliable pick-and-roll option, and the owner of the most inexplicably effective pump-fake the world has ever seen.

In two years’, time, Valanciunas is just going to be entering his prime and will be poised to add the toughness and experience needed in the international game.

Renaldas Seibutis

Renaldas Seibutis
Olympic 2020 – Topmost Lithuania Men’s Basketball Rosters

Seibutis will be 35 by the time the 2020 Olympics roll around, but a combination of maturity, size, and improved shooting ability should warrant him a starting role at the shooting guard position.

His NBA career isn’t anything to write home about, but Seibutis’ experience bouncing around the EuroLeague and his career with the national team has given us more than enough of a sample size.

His game resembles that of a less-athletic Brent Barry, which actually amounts to a pretty versatile player. He certainly doesn’t have the speed that made him a standout in Lithuania years ago and his defense has gone downhill over the years, but he’s still able to slash to the basket and his long-range shooting has become more consistent with age.

He’s not the scorer he used to be, but his combination of skills, including good playmaking ability, will give the Lithuanian offense the versatility it craves.

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Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams leave for Olympics 2020 Games

The Indian hockey team left for Tokyo to play in the Test events. The Olympic Test events would help players to understand playing conditions for Tokyo 202. The men’s team will play Malaysia while the women’s team will take on Japan in their opening games. Olympic followers from all over the world can buy Olympic Hockey tickets online.

Through an eye on the Olympic 2020 Qualifiers later this year, the Indian men’s and women’s hockey sides on Sunday left for Tokyo to take part in the Test events, starting on August 17.

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Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams leave for Olympics 2020 Games

The Olympic Test events are probable to provide good contact to both the teams gaining of the Qualifiers in November.

The Indian men’s side will play against hosts Japan, New Zealand, and Malaysia, while the women will be up against Australia, China, and Japan.

“I trust this tournament is a good opportunity for youngsters to shine as we will all be watched closely ahead of the team selection for the Olympic Qualifiers,” supposed men’s side skipper Harmanpreet Singh.

He also supposed that the Test event will help the team comprehend the playing situations in Tokyo, the venue of next year’s Olympics 2020.

“We are definitely working towards making the Olympic 2020 Qualification. Playing at this venue will help us comprehend the playing conditions there and we are looking forward to a good tournament,” said the defender drag-flicker. The women’s side captain Rani said her side’s aim in the upcoming tournament is to register an upset win over higher-ranked Australia.

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Indian men’s and women’s hockey teams leave for Olympics 2020 Games

“We have done well against Japan and China in the past year but the one team we are looking forward to doing well against is Australia. A win against them will make a big impact for our team’s preparations for the Olympic Qualifier,” Rani said ahead of the team’s departure here.

The men’s team will play their first match against nemesis Malaysia and the women will take on hosts Japan on August 17.

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Olympic Mountain Bike – William Mokgopo is on the way to Tokyo 2020

At the age of 13 years old, Mokgopo built his first bike inside a shipping container. Three years later, he was hurtling down the dirt roads of Africa in serious mountain bike competitions. In 2020, he hopes to ride for gold in Tokyo.

William Mokgopo started out riding his uncle’s bike on the rugged streets of Diep loot, a township 40 kilometers north of Johannesburg. Everything changed when a 13-year-old Mokgopo came across a shipping container.

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Mountain Bike – William Mokgopo is on the way to Tokyo 2020 in search of Olympic glory

“My uncle had this old road bike, it was so big, extra-large, and I was so little I would get into the frame and try to peddle on the side.”

At 13 years old, he built his first bike inside a shipping container. Three years later, he was hurtling down the dirt roads of Africa in serious mountain bike competitions. In 2020, he hopes to ride for gold in Tokyo.

“MTB is growing massively. In the future, I think it could be a major sport. It’s coming to schools now and the schools’ series this year had about 10,000 riders. Even if you look at the black communities, it’s growing. Yesterday we went for an 11-hour ride around Johannesburg and there were about 30 black riders.”

They call him the Skinny Hulk. The name fits like a glove. Mokgopo, the South African mountain biker, is tall, thin and pumped up with gutsy determination. At the age of 24, he is already the 12th-ranked mountain biker in South Africa; part of a new generation of cyclists from the streets to race for gold at the UCI MTB World Championships, the African Continental MTB Championships, and the UCI MTB World Cup.

“I think it’s a bit premature to think I will qualify for this year’s Olympics. But the qualifiers are due in May. Even if I make third or second, I still might make it.”

On this early summer morning, Mokgopo, in riding gear, greets with a warm smile outside Number 3080, on a bumpy street in Diep loot. It’s not easy for cars in this street, but an ideal challenge for training on a bike.

Mokgopo lives in a Reconstruction and Development Program house that the government started building for its citizens after the 1994 elections.

“Everyone here used to live in extension one; in shacks. When the houses were allocated, they chose a block of shacks and said those living in shacks from here to here are getting RDP houses. We were given a number and told this was our house. We signed a form, and that was it. I was still at primary school at that time. Before it was the six of us living in the house.”

“The first year that I started getting paid, I extended these other two houses and one in the back here. It was actually just to have a bit of space. It was difficult living together; trying to bath here and trying to do a whole lot of stuff,” he says.

 “It was just up the road from my house. You will see the fencing on the main road. It started with a project called Earn-A-Bike. You would go and choose a bike, then they would strip it down and then you would teach yourself how to build it. Then, when you graduated, that bike that you built would be your own bike,” he says.

Here, Mokgopo came across Simon Nash, Founder of the Diep loot Mountain Bike Academy, and began to race.

“People didn’t take it seriously. When you are riding a bike in Diep loot, it looks like you are just doing it for leisure. You are a grown-up still riding a bike, for my neighbors it was stupid. Soccer is the main sport here, so when you are on a bike people are like what are you doing?”

For Mokgopo it was uphill all the way. His school friends tied strings across the road to bring down his bike. Outside a corner store, a group of men would sit on crates and laugh at him as he rode by.

“It would be very tough getting out the township in your riding gear. I would have to take shorts and the minute I got out of town then take them off and go ride my bike. There were guys who would stop me and ask me stupid questions, like what is this what? What are these pads on your pants; are they for a woman? But now those people who were laughing at me are actually my friends.”

“The other day, I was sitting on the floor at the corner shop and one of the guys came up and said why is The Celebrity, cause that what they call me now, sitting here? One guy said I think even if William has a million and he will still come and sit here. I always want to show that I still want to be at the level they are.”

One reason for Mokgopo’s smile on this day is a new $4,750 bike, tucked away in his room. Along with competing professionally on the Kargo Pro MTB Team, the first UCI-registered MTB Team in South Africa, Mokgopo is a sports sciences student at the University of Pretoria.

“The tricky thing about MTB is getting the points and staying in front. When you do cross country, you need to look at the course. When you are racing it’s a completely different course. Someone might push you off course or the rock you thought you would be jumping from might have moved. It’s always the thought of what’s coming next,” says Mokgopo.

“From our side, William is a one-of-a-kind athlete, he is so complete on and off the bike and many pro athletes can learn from him. The Olympics is very much a reality for William in 2020 and beyond. He is showing improvement every season and also deals with setbacks very well which is a very important aspect for a pro athlete striving to be the best. Making small adjustments to his training regime over the coming seasons will see William gain that consistency that is needed a week in, week out for Olympic level racing,” says Shaun Peschl, Team Manager of Kargo MTB.

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Mountain Bike – William Mokgopo is on the way to Tokyo 2020 in search of Olympic glory

Cycling isn’t cheap. Mokgopo says it can cost around $34,000 a year to race as a professional for travel alone. His team is fortunate to get their bikes and supplements for free. The latest equipment can make all the difference.

“When I started racing, I had a poorly conditioned bike. I remember the academy got me a carbon bike; I could finish second. It just shows from that little change in equipment it can set you moving into that winning stage. It can put you on the podium. The expenses can push people away from the sport. But it depends on the person you are,” Mokgopo says.

 “I will sit with my eyes open and listen to music. People think I am listening, but I am seeing the course and riding it all the time. It’s getting the feel of the race before even getting to the starting line. I see everything how I want it to be in the race. This is where I have to jump. This is where I need to speed up,” says Mokgopo.

He once spent three weeks in bed with a broken shoulder, after he clipped a motorbike while training on a dirt track.

“I couldn’t even control my fingers. I rode one-handed to home in Diepsloot. Overnight it got worse and we had to go to the hospital the next day. But when I went back everything had completely changed. I started coming second and third and ended up winning a race and that was it. I went to bigger races and was introduced to cross country. When you get your first victory that is when the love gets that bit bigger,” he says.

 “When you fall, the blood looks super cool, My mom was skeptical; with all the bruises and stitches I have when I come home. She didn’t want me to do it. She doesn’t say much, but you can see she’s very proud. My dad always says he’s very proud of me,” says Mokgopo.

Mokgopo’s dream of a spot in Rio was ruined when he injured his knee at the Cape Epic in March. It took two months to get back on the bike again.

The injury forced Mokgopo to build a new dream; his plan is now to be the South African champion in 2017, go to the Commonwealth Games in 2018 and to be an Olympic athlete in Tokyo in 2020.

Bumps, bruises, a bike built in a shipping container and friends who used to laugh at him. Mokgopo comes from humble beginnings and hopes to ride his luck all the way to Japan in 2020.

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Tulane Swimming and diving’s Olivia Johnson Qualifies for Olympics 2020 Trials

Tulane University swimming and diving’s Olivia Johnson has officially qualified for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials in the women’s 400 IM, recording a time of 4:50.41 in the championship final this past Friday at the 2019 Speedo Southern Sectionals in Austin, Texas. Olympics Diving Followers from all over the world can buy Olympics Diving tickets online.

Johnson earned a second-place overall finish among 32 competitors on the campus of the University of Texas in the finals and is now set to participate in the Olympic Trials for the second time in her career.

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Tulane Swimming and diving’s Olivia Johnson Qualifies for Olympics 2020 Trials

The qualifying time required to compete in the Olympic Trials in the women’s 400 individual medleys in 4:51.79.

“It’s a huge honor to compete at the Olympic Trials,” Johnson said. “I was fortunate enough to compete at the 2016 Olympic Trials and it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced in my swimming career. It’s fun to compete against athletes that you grew up watching as a kid.”

The Green Wave’s rising senior also swam in the women’s 200 IM and the women’s 400 freestyle races at sectionals.

Johnson finished sixth among 144 participants in the 200 IM preliminary, recording a time of 2:21.57, before earning a fourth-place standing in the finals with a 2:19.56 finish. Coming in 10th in the 400 freestyle, Johnson earned a time of 4:27.87 in the preliminary race among 104 competitors before improving her time to 4:22.96 in the finals.

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Tulane Swimming and diving’s Olivia Johnson Qualifies for Olympics 2020 Trials

“I could not be more excited for Olivia,” head coach Leah Stancil said. “She has truly committed herself to being the very best and I look forward to seeing her compete against the nation’s best athletes.”

The 2020 Olympic Trials will be held at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska from June 21-28, with the women’s 400 IM set for June 21.

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Swimmer Stephanie Au’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualifying hopes struck by Hong Kong airport disorder

Disruptions at the airport almost caused Hong Kong’s swimming team to scrap their Singapore World Cup campaign, one of the qualifying events for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Fans from all over the world can book Summer Olympics Swimming Tickets online from our trusted online ticketing market platform.

Headed by Stephanie Au Hoi-shun and Chan Kin-Lok, the six-member squad only managed to leave on Tuesday night for the third and final leg of FINA’s Asia series, but the flight was first cancelled on Monday night after the latest protests by demonstrators at Hong Kong International Airport. The local swimmers tried to board a flight on Tuesday evening but that flight was cancelled as well.

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Swimmer Stephanie Au’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualifying hopes struck by Hong Kong airport disorder

Later in the evening, the swimmers managed to book another flight and were let in by protesters after pleading to them that they were representing Hong Kong and it was very important for them to fly to Singapore in hopes of qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics. The swimmers managed to catch the flight from Terminal 2.

Head coach Chen Jianhong on Tuesday morning said: “We are now trying to get a flight to Singapore on Wednesday morning, but no one knows what’s going to happen at the airport at this moment. The Singapore leg is one of the Olympic qualifiers, which is important for Au, one of our best swimmers, especially after her performance at the Hong Kong Open Championships over the weekend, where Chan also did very well,”

“But the safety of our swimmers should come first. If we cannot leave tomorrow, we will have to reconsider our plan as the Singapore Open will begin on Thursday. We also have to plan for the return to Hong Kong after the race is over on Saturday and no one can predict what will happen in the next few days.”

Au, a three-time Olympian since the 2008 Beijing Games, plans to have another crack at the Olympic qualifying A standard after equalling her season-best in the women’s 100m  backstroke on Sunday in Fo Tan. The part-time model finished her favourite event in one minute and 0.81 seconds. The A standard qualifying time for Tokyo is 1:00.25. But her plans are now hanging in the air as protesters reoccupied Hong Kong airport on Tuesday and stopped most air traffic.

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Swimmer Stephanie Au’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics qualifying hopes struck by Hong Kong airport disorder

The Hong Kong medley relay team still has a chance of reaching the Tokyo Olympic Games after finishing 14th at the world championships in Gwangju, South Korea, last month. The quartet of Au, Chan, Yeung and Haughey clocked 4:03.52, two places behind the required ranking for making it to Tokyo. But four slots remain open for the relay.

The coach said: “We want to do a better time in the US to strengthen our position in the medley relay,”

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