A three-day umpire course under the auspices of Badminton World Federation (BWF) is expected to begin in Lagos as the city host its annual Lagos International Badminton Classics, the biggest badminton event in Africa.
It is the first time in 18 years that an Umpire’s course is holding in Nigeria. The last one held in the country was in 2000 in Bauchi in the days leading to the All Africa Senior Badminton Championship.
This time, the umpire training course by the duo of BWF instructors – Dajee Annirao and Harriet Samugabi – is put in shape, the officials for the fourth edition of Lagos International Badminton Classics.
The Lagos Classics, the flagship of badminton tournaments in Africa and one of the most attractive in the world is set to receive over 200 players from 23 countries.
The championship which is in its fourth edition begins on Wednesday and runs through to Saturday.
President of Badminton Federation of Nigeria, Francis Orbih informed that the championship will be attended by top players from India, Malaysia and Australia amongst others who have already made entries.
“It is expected that the competition will be a good test of the Nigerian players, and also help improve their world ranking as they face top players from around the World”.
The highlight of last year’s championship was the Mixed Doubles finals where Misha and Svetlna Zilberman, the mother and son pair from Israel defeated Duarte Nuno Anio and Sofia Setim of Portugal in a pulsating final match.
The men’s singles finals also had the fans on their feet when Chittaboina Rahul Yadav had to battle fellow country man Karan Rajan for the gold.
Francis Orbih told www.badmintonnigeria.org admitted that the 2018 edition will be more competitive than previous editions as the 25,000 dollars prize money at stake is the highest ever.
There is also an upswing in the number of entries compared to the previous ones. According to Orbih, this is expected to raise the competitiveness of the championship.
He however admitted that he is keen to see the performance of the Nigerian players after having participated in different foreign training tours and international competitions.
The players are currently in Accra participating in the Ghana International Badminton Championship, which they intend to use as final preparation for the Lagos International Badminton Classics that will be their first major competition at home this year.