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Flight Tickets Up for Grabs for Spectators at Lagos International Badminton Classics

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Nigeria’s duo of Tosin Damilola Atolagbe and Dorcas Ajoke Adesokan in the opening round of the Women’s Doubles event.

The final day on Saturday will see a lot of celebrities in attendance. Apart from the esteemed presence of the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode who has always graced the previous finals, this year will see celebrities in the entertainment industry attending.

They include Funke Akindele, Desmond Elliot,  DJ Jimmy Jatt, Kunle Bamtefa, Sound Sultan, Kunle Afolayan and Olarewaju Ogunmefun, a hip hop artist who is better known by his stage name, Vector tha Viper.

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According to the president of Badminton Federation of Nigeria, Francis Orbih who is also the chairman of Lagos State Badminton Association, it attendance of the celebrity is to open a new vista in the international classics by bringing a blend of sports and entertainment. “Call it sportainment if you like”, remarked the Nigerian badminton boss.

On Saturday, the day of the final, a raffle draw will be made for all attendees. At stake are two return tickets to London and Accra, Ghana.

They are offered by Medview Airlines. According to the organizers, each person at the Molade Okoya Thomas Indoor Sports Hall venue of the event will be given a raffle ticket before the draw.

A draw will then be made to determine the two winners. This year’s edition has already seen an increase in the prize money which has risen from a package of $15,000 to $20,000. Orbih remarked that the tournament will keep increasing in significance and attendance and that the next edition will witness new additions to make the classics bigger.

Ahead of the final day, the classics had witnessed upsets. In fact the Day Two had the highest amount of upsets in the four day championship which commenced on Wednesday, at the Molade Okoya indoor sport Hall, Teslim Balogun stadium, Surulere

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Following day one’s qualifiers which saw one of Lagos top seed Godwin Olofua knocked out by Isaac Minaphee of Taraba; Enejo Abah of Nigeria was put through his paces as he bowed out of the tournament in the round of thirty two to Ahmed Salah of Egypt, 21-11, 21-16—two straight sets.

Number one seed in the men’s category, Israeli’s Misha Zilberman, made a rather easy progress over Herbert Ebayo of Uganda in two straight sets and further, beat Ghanaian’s Michael Opoku Baah to progress to the quarter finals in the men’s singles.

While Femi Bioku of the Lagos contingent ended his campaign in the hands of second seed, Maddaloni of Italy, current Ivory Coast champion, Anuoluwapo Opeyori looks to be the only light for hosts, Lagos State, after making his way to this year’s quarter final rounds following his triumphant displays over Olamide Adebayo and Habeeb Bello in the round of 32’s and 16’s respectively.

Thurs day’s highest number of upsets came from the women category as the championship’s number one seeded female player, Hadia Hosny of Egypt was dumped out by unseeded Vrushali Gummadi of India in a tight three set encounter—15-21, 21-9, and 21-13.

For total casualties in the female category, the day two set of matches saw four major upsets from top seeds in the category; the likes of second seeded Menna Eltanany of Egypt, Grace Gabriel of Nigeria who is fifth seed, third seeded Egyptian, Doha Hany and Hadia Hosny also of Egypt who is the highest ranked female player in the championship.

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Two Nigerians pick Paris 2024 Paralympics tickets in para badminton

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The duo of Mariam Eniola Bolaji and Jeremiah Chigozie have qualified for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games coming up from 28th August to 8th September.

According to the Badminton World Federation, Multiple African Champion, Mariam Bolaji will represent Nigeria in the Women’s Singles Standing Lower 3 (SL3) while Jeremiah Chigozie represents Nigeria in the Men’s Singles Standing Lower 4 (SL4).

An elated Francis Orbih, President of Badminton Federation of Nigeria said the qualification of Mariam Bolaji and Jeremiah Chigozie is a testimony of hard work, consistency and perseverance.

Orbih who was full of joy revealed that Nigeria stands a good chance to make history by winning medals in para badminton in her debut appearance.

He said, “Today, history has been made as two players for the first time will be representing Nigeria in the para badminton event at the Paralympic Games. I am full of joy because the sacrifices of the players and the Federation were not in vain.

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“Mariam Bolaji and Jeremiah Chigozie have consistently attended the African Championship winning gold medals in the singles and doubles events. Last month, Mariam Bolaji won two gold medals at the Spanish Internationals in Victoria and Toledo putting her in a better position to make it to the Paralympics; which has become a reality.

“With adequate camping, foreign tours and proper funding, I believe Nigeria will win a medal in the Para Badminton event when we make our debut this year”.

Orbih once again, called on well meaning individuals to support the Badminton Federation of Nigeria in ensuring the athletes get maximum support ahead of the Olympic/Paralympic Games in Paris next August.

He said, “I will not get tired of calling on the Federal Government of Nigeria and the private sector to key into our brand and give more support to the Badminton Federation of Nigeria. We have athletes who are marketable and will sell their brands to the world with their sterling performances”.

Mariam Eniola Bolaji shocked the world by winning her first gold medal at the Spanish Para badminton International 2021 beating Oksana Kozyna from Ukraine.

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Bolaji won the women’s singles SL3 at the Uganda Para Badminton International 2023, All African Para Badminton Championship 2023 (Doubles and Mixed Doubles).

She won gold medals at the 5th Fazza Dubai Para Badminton International 2023, Egypt Para Badminton International 2024, World Para Badminton Championship 2024 in Thailand and Spanish Para Badminton International 2024.

Bolaji is also the first African player to be ranked among the top 10 in the BWF world rankings as she is currently ranked number 5 in the world.

Meanwhile, Jeremiah Chigozie won bronze medal at the Uganda Para Badminton International 2023 and three gold medals at African Para Badminton Championship 2023

He played a lesser number of championships compared to Eniola; playing in Egypt, Dubai, and World Championship in Thailand.

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Chigozie got to the quarter finals in the men’s singles SL4 category in Thailand and currently ranked number 16 in the recent BWF para Badminton ranking.

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Badminton gospel spreads to Nigeria Middle Belt region as Makurdi takes its turn

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Badminton Federation of Nigeria (BFN) in conjunction with its partner, Community Sport and Educational Development (CSED) Initiative, has organized a three-day Shuttle Time Teachers Course at Markurdi, Benue State.

The course ran from 25th and 27th of April, 2024.

Twenty four teachers and games masters as well as mistresses participated in the course that involved 18 schools and 75 students.

The three-day training involved both the practical and theory aspects of badminton skills which were taught by the Coordinator and Tutor of the course, Suleiman Tajudeen.

The teachers in turn  taught the students what they learnt and this was used as a means of assessment.

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As it had always been, the participating schools were given Badminton equipment such as rackets, badminton nets and shuttles courtesy of CSED as a support to the schools.

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Para Badminton: Bolaji makes history, wins another gold medal in Spain

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Nigeria Para Badminton player, Mariam Bolaji has won a gold medal to make history at the Spanish Para Badminton International 2024 Level 1 tournament in Toledo, Spain.

Bolaji beat World number 5 Mandeep Kaur from India 2-0 (21-17, 21-17) to clinch the Gold medal and remain unbeaten in two Spanish Internationals in one week.

In a stunning display of skill and determination, Bolaji faced off against some of the world’s top-ranked players and emerged victorious in every match she played.

In the first round, she defeated Coraline Bergeron from France in two straight sets 2-0 (21-9, 21-17). Bolaji continued her winning streak in the second round, defeating Parul Dalsukhbhai Parmer from India 2-0 (21-9, 21-7).

In the crucial third round, Mariam faced a formidable opponent in Manasi Girishchandra Jochi, the World number 4.

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The match was intense, with both players giving it their all. In the end, Mariam emerged victorious with a 2-0 win (22-20, 21-10). With this win, Mariam secured the top spot in the group, booking her place in the semi-finals of the tournament.

Now, in the semi-final round, Mariam faced the seeded number one player in the tournament and World number 3, Halime Yildiz from Turkey. Despite the tough competition, Mariam showed her strength and determination, defeating her opponent 2-0 (21-16, 21-8). This impressive victory earned her a spot in the much-anticipated final match.

The President of Badminton Federation of Nigeria, Francis Orbih said Bolaji has proven that her feat in Victoria a week ago was not a fluke.

Orbih also emphasised the importance of supporting and investing in athletes like Eniola, who continue to excel and bring honour to the country on the global stage.  

He said, “She has proven herself to be a formidable competitor and a force to be reckoned with. Her dedication, hard work, and talent have earned her this well-deserved win, and we are incredibly proud of her achievements.”

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He highlighted the need for more resources, training facilities, and opportunities for para badminton players in Nigeria, so that they can reach their full potential and compete at the highest level.

“Eniola’s victory is not only a personal triumph for her, but also a victory for Nigeria and for the sport of para badminton. It is a testament to the talent and determination of Nigerian athletes, and a shining example of what can be achieved with hard work, perseverance, and support from the federation and the community”

Orbih concluded by expressing his confidence in Eniola’s future success and his belief that she will continue to make Nigeria proud by winning a medal at the Paralympic Games in Paris next July.

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