BY BEN NWAKALOR.
Zuma Badminton Club, Suleja emerged the winners of the Citygate 2017 Badminton Championship at the Abuja National Stadium Package B.
The club, with two gold and two silver medals led all the others as the tourney came to a close amidst pomp and pageantry.
In becoming the overall winners of the second edition of the tournament, Zuma Club became the custodian of the Legacy Cup donated by Legacy Pension Limited.
Host club, Citygate Badminton Club, Abuja settled for the second position, winning a gold medal a silver and two bronze medals.
Multipurpose Badminton Club of Bauchi with medal-haul of a gold, silver and bronze placed third.
The highlight of the championship was the mixed doubles final that had the home duo of Muhammad “Ayo” Idris and Lola Ogunleye slug it out with Usman Afolabi and Jumoke Ahmed of Kwara Stadium Badminton Club.
In the keenly contested match the home pair emerged victorious. The men doubles final was won by the brothers – John and Francis Mella of Zuma Badminton Club Suleja.
The defending champion of the event, Maina Mohammed who incidentally is the Vice President of Badminton Federation of Nigeria (BFN) had to pull out after the first round of games due to a back injury sustained by his partner.
Esther Daniel and Initorufa Tolu of Multipurpose Badminton Club, Bauchi, won the women doubles event.
The Special guest of the competition was Adesola Olusade, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Youths and Sports.
Other dignitaries at the event were Francis Orbih, Badminton Federation of Nigeria (BFN) president, accompanied by his deputy, Maina Mohammed and Gabriel Gbayan, a board member and Chairman, FCT Badminton Association.
The President of the Shooting Federation of Nigeria Gen. Lonsdale Adeoye (rtd), Benjamin Abeh, Assistant Comptroller General of Nigerian Customs Service, Dr Nasir, Chairman Kebbi State Badminton Association, and Jibril Ibrahim Abubakar, Chairman ABCIN were also in attendance.
The Special guest of the competition Adesola Olusade, in his remark commended the organizers for putting together such an elaborate event, and highlighted some of the gains of the game of badminton and other sports as a form of healthy lifestyle.
He also stated the Minister of Youths and Sports, Solomon Dalung was committed to developing all sports in the country by providing good facilities, hence rehabilitation work on the Abuja National Stadium Facility will commence shortly.
The BFN President in his goodwill message appreciated the efforts of the CGBC as well as all other badminton clubs in helping to develop and promote the game of badminton as a sport that can be enjoyed by all.
He also spoke on plans by the BFN to host a national badminton festival next year that will require clubs to register players to compete in both active and veteran categories.
The organisers of the Championship also presented recognition awards to individuals and corporate bodies that have contributed to the growth of badminton.
Some of the awardees were Justice Danlami Senchi – President Badminton Confederation of Africa, Francis Orbih – President Badminton Federation of Nigeria, HRH Mai Abubakar Umar Suleiman OFR – Emir of Bade.
Others are Alhaji Saidu Uba Malami –Developments Chairman Solid Mineral Development Fund, Benjamin Abeh- ACG NigServices.com Services.