Tariku & Kenenisa Bekele: An Olympian Family Affair

Posted May 28th, 2012 at 2:40 pm (UTC-4)
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Tariku Bekele

As Ethiopian star Kenenisa Bekele prepares to defend his Olympic 10,000 meters gold medal in London, his toughest competition could very well come from his younger brother, 25-year-old Tariku. On Sunday in Hengelo, the Netherlands, Tariku clocked 27:11:70, the fastest time in the world this year for the 25-lap race.

The Dutch competition doubled as Ethiopia’s 10,000 meters qualification race for the London Games. Lelisa Desisa finished a close second, only 0.28 behind Tariku, to also book a ticket to London. Ethiopia’s third Olympic 10,000

Kenenisa Bekele

meters berth was reserved for Kenenisa Bekele.

Kenenisa is regarded as one of the greatest distance runners of all time. He is the reigning Olympic champion and world record holder at both five thousand meters (12:37:35) and 10,000 meters (26:17:53). However, he has not been in top form the past two years because of leg injuries.

Another Ethiopian who has not been in top form in recent years is Haile Gebrselassie, a former world record holder and two-time Olympic champion at 10,000 meters who was hoping to qualify for his fifth Olympics.

Haile Gebrselassie

But Father Time is one opponent the 39-year-old Ethiopian star has not been able to beat. Haile finished seventh in Hengelo, and afterwards hinted to reporters that he is moving closer to retirement from athletics. He made journalists laugh when he said at the post-race press conference: “Well, after this you will see me you know not with a track suit – with a suit!

Off the track, Haile has been wearing that business suit more often. He has become a successful businessman with several commercial ventures, including a resort hotel at Ethiopia’s Lake Awassa.

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

Didier Drogba Leaves Chelsea On A High Note

Posted May 22nd, 2012 at 4:44 pm (UTC-4)
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Didier Drogba

Ivorian star Didier Drogba said Tuesday he’s leaving Chelsea Football Club at the end of June when his contract expires after eight years with the club, which won the UEFA Champions League title May 19th in Munich, Germany.

In a statement at Chelsea’s website, the 34-year-old Drogba said: “I wanted to put an end to all the speculation and confirm that I am leaving Chelsea. It has been a very difficult decision for me to make and I am

Didier Drogba and his Chelsea teammates celebrate their UEFA Champions League trophy (Getty Images)

very proud of what we have achieved, but the time is right for a new challenge for me. As a team, we have accomplished so much and won every single trophy possible.”

Drogba’s biggest trophy came in Munich, where he played a huge role in Chelsea’s first-ever European title. He scored the equalizer in the 88th minute against host Bayern Munich, to take Chelsea into extra time and then a penalty kick shootout. And then the muscular striker scored the winning penalty kick in Chelsea’s 4-3 penalty shootout victory.

Drogba delivered 157 goals in 341 appearances for the West London club, and his 34 goals in European competition is a Chelsea record. The two-time African Footballer of the Year also won three English Premier League titles, four English F.A. Cups and two Carling League Cups.

He says holding the trophy in Munich, after losing in the UEFA Champions League final four years earlier in Moscow, was a crucial moment in deciding to leave Chelsea. “I think winning the final was the key,” says Drogba, “and not me scoring the winning penalty but winning the game I think was the turning point. I think it’s the best time to move on.”

Didier Drogba’s next move may be China, where he reportedly would join former Chelsea teammate Nicolas Anelka with the club Shanghai Shenhua.

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

VOA Swahili Sportsman Mwamoyo Hamza

Posted May 18th, 2012 at 4:06 pm (UTC-4)
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Mwamoyo Hamza

In this Olympic year, Mwamoyo Hamza says the favorite sporting event he’s covered was the 1984 Los Angeles Games. In an email sent from his Tanzanian homeland, Mwamoyo looks back fondly on those Olympics in Los Angeles: “The first time I came to the USA was for reporting the 1984 Summer Olympics. I was a strapping 24-years-old. After having lived in a country with limited information, I was surprised by the USA’s prosperity and freedom.”

 

Mwamoyo says his first trip to the USA helped inspire him to study in the United States. He graduated with double majors in Journalism and Mass Communication from Howard University in Washington, D.C. Mwamoyo has moved on to become chief of the VOA’s Swahili Service, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary with a ceremony in Washington. “It was a great feeling,” says Mwamoyo. “It was a great honor on behalf of all the good broadcasters who made Swahili Service what it is today.”

In addition to his chief duties, Mwamoyo also broadcasts sports in Swahili. It’s always interesting to get Mwamoyo’s take on the National Basketball Association Playoffs, since basketball is his favorite sport. He’s picking the Miami Heat to win this year’s NBA title.

Miami lost to the Dallas Mavericks, four games to two, in last season’s NBA Finals. Mwamoyo says he wasn’t surprised to see the Mavericks swept by the Oklahoma City Thunder, 4-0, in the first round. “All season long, they (the Mavericks) did not play like champions.”

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

Man City’s Ivorian Football Star Yaya Toure

Posted May 7th, 2012 at 1:50 pm (UTC-4)
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Yaya Toure

Here’s a Sonny Side of Sports salute for Yaya Toure, the Ivorian and Manchester City football star who probably will be celebrating his 29th birthday next week by holding the English Premier League trophy.

The 2011 African Footballer of the Year scored both goals for Man City Sunday in a crucial 2-0 road victory over Newcastle United.

Yaya Toure scores his second goal against Newcastle

Toure put Man City in front in the 69th minute with a beautiful goal from just outside the box to the bottom of the right corner of the goal. And then in the 89th minute, the rugged midfielder sealed the victory with another goal.

With the triumph, Manchester City is on the verge of its first English Premier League title since 1968. Man City is level on points, with 86, with local rival Manchester United. But Man City has the edge on goal difference and it’s expected to wrap up the league title when it plays at home against struggling Queens Park Rangers in its final match May 13th.

Man City’s Italian manager, Roberto Mancini, is delighted with his team’s victory over Newcastle and he describes Yaya Toure as a fantastic player. Yaya’s older brother, 31-year-old Kolo, also plays for Man City, and the Toure brothers make regular appearances for Ivory Coast’s national team, currently top-ranked in Africa.

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

Waving The Kenyan Flag

Posted April 23rd, 2012 at 4:10 pm (UTC-4)
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I’ve been waving the Kenyan flag a lot lately. Last week, I waved it for Wesley Korir and Sharon Cherop, who won the men’s and women’s titles at the Boston Marathon. In this video, I wave it again for Kenyan athletes Wilson Kipsang and Mary Keitany, who won the men’s and women’s races at the London Marathon.

With their victories in the British capital, Kipsang and Keitany are good bets to make Kenya’s 2012 Olympic team. The Kenyans will be bidding to win gold medals in both the men’s and women’s Olympic marathons in London.

In successfully defending her London title, Keitany set a new African record of 2:18:37, breaking the mark of Kenyan countrywoman Catherine Ndereba, a silver medalist in the women’s marathon at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Kipsang, meanwhile, is hoping to become the second Kenyan to win Olympic gold in the men’s marathon. The late Sammy Wanjiru, the subject of a recent Sports Illustrated article, set an Olympic record of 2:06:32 at the Beijing Games.

Also in the video above, we see and hear from Caster Semenya, the South African 800 meter runner who will be competing in her first Olympics in London. The 21-year-old Semenya won a silver medal at last year’s world championships in South Korea and a gold medal at the 2009 world championships in Germany. She says her big goal this year is to win her first Olympic gold medal in London.

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

Joint support of Russia and Algeria for election in Syria

Posted April 18th, 2012 at 1:15 pm (UTC-4)
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Published : 6/2/2014

Joint support of Russia and Algeria for election in Syria

During a press conference with her Algerian counterpart, Valentina Matviyenko (Chairwoman of Russian federal council), emphasized on the two countries joint stance on Syria’s affairs.

Both sides supported holding the presidential election in Syria and criticized Syria’s enemies for their efforts in order to disrupt the election, saying that this is violation of international treaties.

 

Chairwoman of Russian Federal Council described her visit of Algeria as a success and satisfactory. She condemned continuing financial and military support of foreign terrorists in Syria and described it as failure. The chairwoman added, the future belongs to Syrian people.

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

Opponents receive mustard gas from Ansar al-Sharia in Libya

Posted April 8th, 2012 at 7:46 am (UTC-4)
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Published : 6/2/2014

Opponents receive mustard gas from Ansar al-Sharia in Libya

A cargo of mustard gas has been discovered from extremist groups based in the country by Libyan government. According to the confessions of captured elements of Ansar al-Sharia in Libya, the gas was due to be transferred to Syrian opposition groups to create insecurity in the upcoming presidential elections in Syria.

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

Libya Hopes For First Olympic Medal

Posted March 30th, 2012 at 5:25 pm (UTC-4)
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Libya is once again expected to send a small team to this year’s Olympics in London. Eight Libyans participated at Athens 2004 and seven at Beijing 2008. Check out this video in which I profile three Libyan Olympic hopefuls.

The Libyans sent only one athlete to the country’s first Olympics in Tokyo in 1964. And only one Libyan competed at the 1968 Games in Mexico City.

Libyan Olympic officials say they hope to send at least nine athletes to London. They add if they can’t get on the Olympic medals table for the first time at London 2012, they hope to do so at Rio de Janeiro 2016.

Mohamed Khouaja, the national record holder at 200 meters and 400 meters, says the Libyan Olympic team in London will be remembering those who died last year in the country’s revolution. “God willing, we will do our best for Libya,” says the 24-year-old Khouaja, “just as the martyrs did and sacrificed their lives for Libya and this blessed revolution. So, we also hope to give something to them and to our people.”

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

Senegalese Center Gorgui Dieng

Posted March 25th, 2012 at 12:19 pm (UTC-4)
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Louisville center Gorgui Dieng takes a shot

Senegalese center Gorgui Dieng (pronounced GOR-gee Jeng) came to the United States three years ago as a tall, skinny teenager who spoke little English. He played one year of high school basketball at Huntington Prep in West Virginia, where he averaged 15 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocks a game. Several American colleges and universities recruited the 2.11 meter (6 feet 11 inches) tall Dieng, with Coach Rick Pitino and The Cardinals of Louisville getting the Senegalese player to commit to their school.

Dieng told Coach Pitino he hoped to play professionally in the National Basketball Association. Pitino told Dieng he needed to improve his defense and his conditioning for his NBA dreams to come true. Since arriving in the USA, Dieng has worked on

Gorgui Deng is one of college basketball’s best shot blockers (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

getting stronger, and put on nearly 23 kilograms (50 pounds). He now weighs 106 kilograms (235 pounds), and in his words, Coach Pitino “changed my whole mentality to play defense.”

Dieng’s defense has helped lead Louisville to The Final Four in the U.S. men’s college basketball championship tournament. He’s blocked 124 shots this season – and he matched a Louisville tournament record March 22 with seven blocks in a game in a 57-44 ”Sweet 16″ victory over top-seeded Michigan State. Overall this season, Dieng is averaging about nine points, nine rebounds and three blocks a game.

On Saturday, the 22-year-old Dieng made a crucial block with less than a minute left in the game, helping preserve Louisville’s lead in a 72-68 victory over Florida. Gorgui Dieng’s American odyssey will now take him to New Orleans, Louisiana, where The Final Four semifinal games will be played March 31. Scouts have described Dieng as a good NBA prospect because of his defense, but whose offensive skills are still underdeveloped.

Even so, he’s shown tremendous improvement in a short period of time, and verbally, Gorgui Dieng now speaks five languages, the latest of which is English.

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

Cherry Blossoms & The Runner’s Rite of Spring

Posted March 19th, 2012 at 2:47 pm (UTC-4)
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Cherry blossoms near the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival officially opens this week here in Washington, “celebrating 100 years of the gift of trees” from Tokyo. The Japanese sent more than 3,000 cherry trees to Washington in March 1912, helping create the U.S. capital city’s greatest springtime celebration.

This year’s gala centennial of the first planting has been expanded to five weeks and it includes activities such as Samurai cinema, Japanese tea parties, a kite festival as well as several sporting events, including rugby and soccer tournaments and the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run on April 1.

Ralph & Sonny at finish line of 1995 Cherry Blossom

I’m looking forward to testing my speed and endurance in “The Runner’s Rite of Spring” after a winter of early morning runs in sometimes sub-freezing temperatures. I’ve run the Cherry Blossom several times, including 1995, when my younger brother, Ralph, nipped me at the finish line.

The Cherry Blossom often attracts top runners who use the race as a tune-up for the Boston Marathon, which will be held for the 116th time on April 16.

Former Boston Marathon champions Bill Rodgers and

Joan Benoit Samuelson

Joan Benoit Samuelson will conduct pre-race clinics before the Cherry Blossom in Washington. Rodgers won four Boston Marathon titles during his great career, helping him earn the nickname, “Boston Billy.” And Samuelson won two Boston Marathon women’s titles, but perhaps is best known for winning the gold medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, the year the women’s marathon was introduced.

 

 

Sonny Young
Since 1999, host Sonny Young has delighted listeners and viewers with a lively presentation that combines humor, props, sound effects and correspondent reports from Africa and all over the globe.

Sixteen teams. 28 matches. Three weeks. One winner. Champion of Africa.
 

Follow all the action in the Africa Cup of Nations 2015 with Voice of America. Led by on-the-ground coverage by Abdushakur Aboud from Equatorial Guinea, VOA’s reporters, producers and bloggers will be watching and reporting—here and on-the-air—as the sides look for bragging rights to be called the best in Africa, and look toward World Cup 2018.
 

Sonny Side of Sports will return to this space after February 9.
 

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QUALIFYING ROUND

Saturday, Jan. 17 -- Group A
Equatorial Guinea v. Congo 4 p.m.
Burkina Faso v. Gabon 7 p.m.

Sunday, Jan. 18 -- Group B
Zambia v. RD Congo 4 p.m.
Tunisia v. Cape Verde 7 p.m.

Monday, 19 Jan. -- Group C
Ghana v. Senegal 4 p.m.
Algeria v. South Africa 7 p.m.

Tuesday, 20 Jan. -- Group D
Cote d'Ivoire v. Guinea 6 p.m.
Mali v. Cameroon 7 p.m.

Wednesday, 21 Jan. -- Group A
Equatorial Guinea v. Burkina Faso 6 p.m.
Gabon v. Congo 7 p.m.

Thursday, 22 Jan. -- Group B
Zambia v. Tunisia 4 p.m.
Cape Verde v. RD Congo 7 p.m.

Friday, 23 Jan. -- Group C
Ghana v. Algeria 4 p.m.
South Africa v. Senegal 7 p.m.

Saturday, 24 Jan. -- Group D
Cote d'Ivoire v. Mali 4 p.m.
Cameroon v. Guinea 7 p.m.

Sunday, 25 Jan. -- Group A
Congo v. Burkina Faso 6 p.m.
Gabon v. Equatorial Guinea 6 p.m.

Monday, 26 Jan. -- Group B
RD Congo v. Tunisia 6 p.m
Cape Verde v. Zambia 6 p.m.

Tuesday, 27 Jan. -- Group C
South Africa v. Ghana 6 p.m.
Senegal v. Algeria 6 p.m.

Wednesday, 28 Jan. -- Group D
Cameroon v. Cote d'Ivoire 6 p.m.
Guinea v. Mali 6 p.m.

QUARTERFINALS

Saturday, 31 Jan.
1st Group A v. 2nd Group B 4 p.m.
1st Group B v. 2nd Group A 7 p.m.

SEMIFINALS

Wednesday, 4 Feb.
Winner 25 v Winner 28 7 p.m.

FINALS

Sunday, 8 Feb.
Winner 29 v. Winner 30 7 p.m.

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