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Teslim Balogun Stadium comes alive as athletes resume training for non-contact sports


Coaches and players have resumed training at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos barely five days after the government’s easing of the ban of non-contact sports.

The Newsmen reports that the Federal Government had earlier announced the reopening of non-contact sporting activities after several months ban due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A visit to Teslim Balogun Stadium Complex by reporters showed that athletes were gradually returning to training, especially at the Molade Okoya Thomas indoor sports hall.

However, movements were still restricted by the security personnel at the entrance of the facility, with only athletes with valid means of identification were allowed entrance.

Security personnel told Newsmen at the stadium that only those with serious business and athletes were allowed into the facility in line with the management’s instructions.

At the Molade Okoya Hall, Badminton players have seen training alongside their coaches and officials.

The players were supervised by Maria Omonehin, the Head Coach, Lagos State Badminton Association.

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A spokesperson for Lagos State Sports Commission (LSSC), Titi Oshodi, told NAN that the stadium was now open to selected athletes as allowed by the COVID-19 protocol of the Federal Government.

“We are happy to be back after the suspension and the stadium is only open to the prescribed sports by the government. Players are now welcome to our facility to train.

“Our players have missed sporting activities and we are happy to have them back.

“We have put in place all the necessary protocols to ensure that the facility is safe enough for the athletes and their officials,” she said.

Also, Omonehin spoke on her expectations from the athletes as they return to training, saying that there are lots of works to be done.

“I have high expectations from the players as they return to training and I am happy that they are also eager to return as well.

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“I want the players to be the focus because there are lots of work to be done to keep them fit, so far the expectations are high and they must be ready to train.

“We hope to do our best for the players, and at the same time, we need to be very careful and health safety conscious,” she said.

Omonehin said that players must ensure personal hygiene and comply with COVID-19 protocols so as not to contract the deadly virus which could hamper their health.

“The players know that COVID-19 is not a joke, so we are keeping to the protocols such as social distancing, handwashing, use of face mask, and others.

“The LSSC has been so wonderful in the upkeep of the athletes and coaches, the commission has been supportive and from my experience, the new management is eager to see the players and technical crew be at their best.

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“We have some competitions ahead after the COVID-19 break, so we must be prepared,” she said.

Nigeria’s number one badminton player, Anu Opeyori, said he was happy that badminton was one of the few sports allowed to be back after the break.

“I am glad that sporting activities are gradually returning and my sport is included in the sports that can take place.

“It is a pleasure to be back because I have really missed playing on the court because it is very hard to keep fit without training.

“Coming back to train with my colleagues is a thing of joy because it simply means that we are survivors of the COVID-19 pandemic. I want to thank LSSC for the opportunity to train.

“The Lagos State Government has been supportive during the break as we were given palliative through LSSC which we appreciate,” he said.