Team Nigeria yesterday began its campaign at the All Africa Senior Badminton Championships on a good note when the pair of Enejoh Abah and Peace Orji defeated Bongani von Badenstein and Michelle Butler-Emmet 21-15, 21-10 in the competition holding at the Diette Spiff Indoor Hall, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
In the Men’s singles, Anuoluwapo Opeyori beat Ruan Snyman 21-12, 21-14, while Dorcas Adesokan defeated Johanita Scholtz 21-13, 21-15 in the Women’s Singles.
In the Men’s doubles, Opeyori and Olofua subdued the pair of Von Bodenstein and Jared Elliot 21-16, 21-17, while Deborah Ukeh and Adesokan recorded a 21-19, 21-14 victory over Elme De Villiers and Butler-Emmet to make a 5-0 rout of the South Africans.
In the other matchups, Algeria beat Togo 5-0, Ghana defeated Cote d’Ivoire 5-0, Mauritius pounded Benin 5-0, while Egypt hammered Congo Democratic Republic 5-0. The team event ends tomorrow.
According to the Badminton Federation of Nigeria, 14 countries are already in Port Harcourt taking part in the continental championships, while the rest are expected to arrive at the venue tomorrow to be part of the singles event, which is expected to commence on Thursday.
Team Nigeria’s Assistant Coach, George Shitta hailed the players for their successes yesterday, adding that the nation’s athletes will take each game as it comes.
He stated the plan was to win the entire gold medals at stake, adding that with good performance, it would be achieved.
“The opening game against South Africa went fine, but our strategy is to take each game as it comes. Our desire is to win the championships by picking all the gold medals at stake. We hope more fans will turn up tomorrow (today) to cheer the Team Nigerian to victory.”
Shitta said winning the gold medals will give the players the points they need to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.