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12-year-old Nigerian chess wizkid granted US asylum

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A 12-year-old Nigerian chess prodigy, Tanitoluwa “Tani” Adewumi, has been granted asylum by the United States after winning a New York State Chess Championships while living in a homeless shelter with his family.

Tani as he is fondly called, was only eight when he rose to international stardom in 2019 with that performance which saw him defeat 73 of the best chess players in his age group and win his division.

His success came less than two years after his arrival in the US after his family allegedly fled the West African country due to threats by the Islamist jihadist group, Boko Haram.

The chess wizkid’s father, Kayode Adewumi, who announced the asylum on Saturday, said the family had been granted asylum by the US government, concluding a “dramatic five-year journey that began in terrifying fashion.”

“We escaped by the mercy of God. The only thing that we can say is we really thank God,” he said.

After Tani won that famous victory at the New York State Championships and garnered national attention, a fundraising website for the family raised more than $200,000 (£164,000) and an anonymous donor paid a full year’s rent on a two-bedroom apartment for them.

In 2021, Tani competed at another chess tournament in Connecticut and won every game, becoming one of the youngest national masters in the history of the US Chess Federation.

Today, the Adewumi family lives in an apartment in east Manhattan, and say their asylum status has come as a great relief.

“We were very very happy. We really appreciate God that asylum came successfully,” Adewumi said.

In an interview with BBC, Tani said:
“I hope to become a grandmaster,” Tani said. “Or maybe more than that – a world champion.”

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Agent of Ghanaian international, Christian Atsu, debunks rescue from Turkey earthquake

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The agent of Ghanaian Black Star international, Chrstism Atsu, has debunked reports the player who was trapped under the rubble of a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday, has been rescued.

Atsu, who plies his trade with Hatayspor of Turkey was one of several people affected by the quake, was reported to have been rescued alive on Tuesday but the agent, Nana Sechere, in a statement on Wednesday, said the he and the player’s family have been unable to confirm whether he was rescued nor his whereabouts.

A number of conflicting reports had surfaced following the initial news regarding Atsu, with a spokesperson for Hatayspor claiming he had been taken to hospital injured.

Sechere who released the statement on Twitter, however said so far, the reports are not true.

“Following yesterday’s update from the club that Christian had been pulled out alive, we are yet to confirm Christian’s whereabouts,” Sechere wrote.

“As you can imagine, this continues to be a devastating time for his family and we are doing everything we can to locate Christian.”

“Official updates will be provided as more information comes to light. Please respect the families privacy during this harrowing time, and refrain from spreading unsubstantiated news as this will only hamper the search efforts for Christian Atsu.

“Thank you for all your prayers and support,” he posted in another tweet.

The confusion over Atsu’s situation was also accentuated by an update by Hatayspor manager, Volkan Demirel, who told reporters that Atsu and the club’s director Taner Savut, were still missing.

“There is no news from Atsu and Taner Savut yet. Would I share this if they were in the hospital? As soon as the news comes, I will share it.”

Hatayspor club doctor Gurbey Kahveci also said:

“We went to the hospitals, but he was not there. Unfortunately, we accept that Taner and Cristian Atsu have not been found at the moment.”

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Ghanaian footballer, Christian Atsu, rescued alive from Turkey earthquake rubble

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Ghana international footballer, Christian Atsu, who was reported to be one of those buried under the rubble following a 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit Turkey on Monday, has been rescued alive, according to officials of his club,
Hatayspor, on Tuesday.

The 31-year-old former Chelsea and Newcastle winger was reported missing in Turkey’s Hatay province following the quake and its aftershocks that brought down thousands of buildings, killing around 5,000 people in several Turkish and Syrian cities.

But in a statement on Tuesday, the club said the Black Star player has been found alive after being buried under rubble, but with injuries and have been evacuated to a hospital.

“Christian Atsu was pulled out injured. Our sporting director, Taner Savut, is unfortunately still under the rubble,” club vice president Mustafa Ozak told the media on Tuesday.

Atsu, who joined Chelsea from Porto as a teenager, has played in the English Premier League for both Newcastle United and Everton, on loan from Chelsea, before joining Hatayspor last September.

He played a League match for Hatayspor on Sunday before the early morning earthquake which across southeast Turkey and northern Syria.

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