The day one of the recently commenced Lagos international Badminton Classics holding at the Molade Okoya indoor sport Hall, Teslim Balogun stadium has seen some major casualties to keep religious fans of the sport at the edge of their seats.
The four-day Badminton tournament which flagged off on Wednesday the 26th and runs till the 29th July, has not failed to live to expectation as the qualifying rounds saw two of Lagos State’s top seeds knocked out prematurely from the tournament in the Men singles category.
Lagos’ South-West Badminton champion, Godwin Olofua’s progression in this year’s edition was dashed away by a resolute performance from his Nigerian opposition, Isaac Minaphee of Taraba state in his second stage of qualification.
After taking the first set, Godwin bowed to the intensity coming from his opponent, Minaphee in the second and third set as the Taraba bases player who was conspicuously more experienced qualified to the main chart 13-21, 21-13, 21-15.
Joining the Lagos casualty was Funsho Opeyori who also failed to lift the hearts of the ever animated Lagos fans as his tournament ended in the hands his Nigerian opponent, Mujittapha Umar.
”I’m Minaphee Isaac from Taraba State, northern part of the state, I beat Godwin in qualifying and now to main chart. Said the very determined Taraba based player, Minaphee Isaac after his win over Olofua Godwin of Lagos.
”I’m really happy, not because I beat Godwin, but because I’m able to qualify and show people that I’m still in the game and I’m able to do more than before.
”I think Godwin is a very good player, I wanted giving up because I was exhausted but I kept on pushing because of the small experience that I have and that was what gave me the courage and I’m really happy.”
The female single category which like the male categories, saw a host of Nigerian players compete for spots in the main chart however, was short of drama as they made easy dispatch of their foreign opposition.
Ramatu Yakubu of the Federal Capital Abuja showed a laudable resolve to go farther with her performance than her previous participation.
”My name is Ramatu Yakubu, I play for FCT, Nigeria. I’m very impressed with my game this evening. Ramatu asserted.
”I’m praying God will assist me for my match tomorrow and I Thank God for everything.
”Compared to the last Lagos Classics, I was knocked out in my first match and I’ve praying towards this one and thank God I’m playing fine and I pray to get to the point where God wants me to get to.” She ended.
The third edition of the Lagos international Badminton Classics is the biggest Badminton tournament in Africa with an unprecedented price money of $20,000 as increased by the Lagos state government.
Writer: Chidiebere Anugwolu