“With the reintroduction of the Pension Schemes Bill as one of its first acts following the election, we are pleased the government is prioritising the £2trn pension sector,” said Nigel Peaple, director of policy at the association.Charles Counsell, chief executive officer at The Pensions Regulator (TPR), said it welcomed “the prompt re-introduction” of the bill.Tyron Potts, associate and head of pensions research at Barnett Waddingham, said the reintroduction of the pension schemes bill meant the regulator would soon be in a position to launch its first consultation on a brand new code of practice for defined benefit (DB) pensions funding.“In turn, this will provide helpful guidance around the legal obligation for DB schemes to align investment and funding approaches to a long-term objective – an obligation which TPR has in any case been encouraging schemes to look at now rather than waiting until [the legislation receives] Royal Assent.”The PLSA’s Peaple highlighted that the bill did not provide a schedule for the planned removal of the lower earnings limit to automatic enrolment contributions, “meaning millions missing out on extra saving with employer support and tax relief”.According to Peaple there is also room for improvement with regard to new criminal sanctions and civil fines intended to prevent scheme sponsors from deliberately evading their responsibilities.“[C]urrent drafting is too loose and risks applying far more widely than intended,” he said. The UK’s new government has brought back the workplace pensions bill that its predecessor introduced in October shortly before last month’s general election was called.The pension schemes bill was introduced in the House of Lords yesterday although the date for a first substantive debate on all aspects of the bill has not yet been scheduled.No major differences with the bill’s predecessor have been highlighted by experts so far. Like the bill tabled in October, the new draft legislation includes provisions to enable the pension dashboard and collective defined contribution (CDC) schemes and strengthen the regulator’s powers, but does not introduce a framework for consolidation of defined benefit schemes into so-called superfunds.The country’s main pension fund lobby group, the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), today welcomed the speed with which the government has brought back the bill.
Fans at the recently concluded ITTF Premier Lotto Nigeria open table tennis championship in Lagos were disappointed that no Nigerian qualified for the final of the competition, a situation that led to calls from some quarters for the services of a foreign coach for the nation’s players. In this piece Kunle Adewale writes about national team player, Olufunke Oshonaike’s of a foreign coachGermany-based Funke Oshonaike, a five-time Olympian and was optimistic after the draws for the ITTF Lotto Nigeria Open that she had all it takes to cart away the biggest prize of the competition considering her form and the kind of training she has had. But it was not to be. She was knocked out in the semifinal to the disappointment of the crowd at the Molade Okoya Sports Centre of the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos.“These people (foreign players) are just coming here every year to take away our money (prize money) and our players could not just do anything. Our last hope had just been dashed,” a fan who could not hide his disappointment said as he watched Oshonaike bow to the superior play of her Portuguese opponent. Questions were then raised about the quality of training new players get and why no players has been able to dethrone Oshonaike over the years, so much so she would be in Rio for her sixth Olympics.Oshonaike feels that with the number of ex-internationals around, Nigeria does not need the services of a foreign coach.“We have some very good coaches in the country that could hold on to their own anywhere, calling for the service of a foreign coach who does not understand our culture, mentality and nature would be a wrong move at this time,” the Olympian said.The player is indeed hoping to coach the table tennis national team after her career which she admitted has at its twilight, should the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation consider her as a coach.“I would gladly accept the offer to coach the country if it would mean adding quality to Nigerian table tennis. After all, I’m over 40 years with lots of experience in the game during my long stay abroad. I understand those areas many Nigerian players are lacking which have in most cases prevented them from rising to the world stage in the game,” she noted.Oshonaike also lamented the lack of enough competitions to keep players busy. A situation she said was killing the sport.“Things were not the way it used to be when I started the game as a schoolgirl. Then, there were lots of competitions to participate in, which kept us busy and also improved our skills. But not so any more, which is very unfortunate and its really taking its toll on the upcoming players. It’s the main reason table tennis in Nigeria is going down every now and then.“I’ll therefore suggest that the federation should aggressively seek sponsors to save the sport from sinking further. But unfortunately, the economy is not buoyant as most corporate organisations that would have come to the rescue of the game are struggling to keep afloat. But maybe some wealthy individuals should just come and save table tennis and help young potential players fulfill their dreams,” she notedThe other area Oshonaike wants the federation to pay attention to is grassroots table tennis not because she began her career from there, but due to the burgeoning potentials at that level for the good of the country.Oshonaike explained that if the grassroots coaches played their role by discovering and harnessing these young talents, they could be integrated into the national table tennis team where they would be under the tutelage of national coaches.She noted: “We have a lot of problems with grassroots table tennis because the grassroots coaches are not doing enough to bring young players for professional coaching.“For instance, when I started playing table tennis, there was the cadet, junior and senior. Then, if you are in the cadet level and they observed that you played very well, you would be moved to the junior team and consequently, if you performed well, you would be moved to the senior team. Therefore, a player should begin from grassroots before playing at the national level. The coaches at the grassroots have to do their jobs before the coaches at the national level can come in.”For every glorious career, there is always a starting point. Oshonaike’s foray into table tennis began in elementary school on the streets of Shomolu, a bustling suburb of Lagos. While in Shomolu, Oshonaike started developing her potential which she described as a “talent from God” using a makeshift table and soak away slabs to play the game with her elder brother.From there, the ship sailed to her secondary school, where she represented the school at competitions, earning her awards and recognition. This opportunity did not only launch her into limelight, but set her apart as a rare talent with promises and potential.“I started playing table tennis at the age of 12, during my primary school days in Shomolu and I was driven by the belief that it was a God-given talent and the role my elder brother played was also an inspiration. We had a small makeshift table to play with before somebody in my street bought a table tennis board and from there a coach discovered me. Then I started representing my school, the state and the country. At the state level, I won several awards and was also recognised by the state.“The journey has been wonderful and I have no regret whatsoever. Table tennis has taken me everywhere and given me everything I have achieved today. Though, there have been some challenges, but that is life; nothing good comes easy. There have been good and bad times in my career, but I try to move on despite these ups and downs. One of the saddest moments in my career was during the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in 2011, when I was dropped from the team. Despite that, I did not lose faith in the team and the country; today I still represent the country.“Table tennis is something I have the passion for; so much so that over 40 years I am still playing. Sometimes, the situation of the country tends to weigh me down. I think probably it is because of my German lifestyle. Over there, things are quite different. But I realise that this is Nigeria and we have a way of doing things. I am hopeful that one day things will change,” Oshonaike said.The All Africa Games in Congo, Oshonaike again booked a ticket to represent Nigeria at the Brazil 2016 Olympic Games slated for Rio, which will be her sixth appearance, something she attributed to hard work. “Hard work does not kill but would rather help one to do things effortlessly where others are struggling,” she pointed out.She admitted that Rio would be her last Olympics after which she intends to take to coaching.The 2003 All Africa Games would however remain special to the Sports Club Poppenbuttel III player. “It was just some few months after I gave birth to my first child and I therefore had to take the baby to camp and ironically, the games turned out to be my best ever, after winning four gold medals to emerge Nigeria’s best athlete in the competition,” she recalled.Oshonaike was indeed full of praise for the President of Nigeria Table Tennis Federation, Enitan Oshodi, for the wonderful work he is doing to move the sports to greater height, while admitting that it was because of the support of Oshodi and the board that she is still in the sport despite her age.She added that the federation had provided a lot of facilities for the development of the sport and this gesture is really laudable. She explained that the facilities have helped players to train better. Though the only thing they are lacking, according to Oshonaike, is money, on the whole, they are doing excellently well.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
Written By WATCH US LIVE Associated Press Television News COMMENT SUBSCRIBE TO US First Published: 3rd January, 2020 17:33 IST Here are a few things to watch in Southeastern Conference basketball as league competition opens this week:GAME OF THE WEEKENDLOOKING AHEADCan LSU and Tennessee bounce back?: LSU is the defending SEC regular-season champion and Tennessee owned the nation’s No. 1 ranking for nearly a month last season, but both teams are struggling a bit as they prepare to meet Saturday in Knoxville. Tennessee (8-4) has dropped three of its last four games andNUMBERS GAMEAuburn is one of only two unbeaten Division I teams along with No. 13 San Diego State (14-0). … SEC teams have gone 8-3 in head-to-head matchups with the Atlantic Coast Conference but have a combined 9-16 record against the Big East, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12. … Kentucky’s Ashton Hagans has recorded at least six assists in nine straight games. He has an SEC-leading 7.3 assists per game. … After winning 31 straight home games, Tennessee has dropped two of its last three at Thompson-Boling Arena. … The SEC’s only Top 25 teams are Auburn and No. 17 Kentucky. … The SEC had five teams in the top 50 of theIMPACT PERFORMERGeorgia’s Anthony Edwards was rated as the nation’s No. 2 prospect in his class, according to composite rankings of recruiting sites, and the 6-foot-5 guard has lived up to that considerable billing thus far. Edwards ranks second in the SEC in scoring (19.7), behind only Vanderbilt’s Aaron Nesmith (23.5). Edwards showed his ability to deliver in big games by scoring 37 points in a loss to No. 14 Michigan State. Edwards gets another chance to showcase his talents Saturday at No. 9 Memphis, when he matches up with the Tigers’ talent-laden freshman class.ON THE WOMEN’S SIDEThe SEC enters conference play with six teams in the Top 25: No. 4 South Carolina, No. 11 Texas A&M, No. 13 Kentucky, No. 15 Mississippi State, No. 20 Arkansas and No. 22 Tennessee. … Heading into Thursday’s games, Texas A&M’s Chennedy Carter ranked fifth among Division I players in scoring (22.8) and Auburn’s Unique Thompson was fifth in rebounding (12.2). Last Updated: 3rd January, 2020 17:33 IST Unbeaten Auburn Visits Mississippi St. To Open SEC Schedule Here are a few things to watch in Southeastern Conference basketball as league competition opens this week: LIVE TV FOLLOW US