BY IKENNA NWOKEDI
African Champion and Olympian, Oby Edoga Solaja as part of her contribution towards the promotion and development of the game in the state and geopolitical zone on Tuesday donated badminton equipment to the Anambra State Sports Development Commission (ASSDC).
The donation which was received by the Chairman, Directors and officers of the sports commission saw Nigeria’s first badminton player to feature at the Olympic Games donating 30 rackets, four shuttle tubes and four badminton nets for the growth of the game at the post-primary school level.
In her remarks, Oby Solaja stated her delight to give back to the state where she was discovered and nurtured to the big stage which metamorphosed into representing the old Anambra State at the National Sports Festival where she won gold and silver medals for the state and in furtherance became African Champion as well as playing at the biggest stage in sports, the Olympic Games.
Solaja stated that the game of badminton gave her the platform and leverage to nurse a career, represent the state and play the role of an ambassador at the global stage.
She disclosed that her aim is to discover talent, age bracket of 8 to 15 years, ensure that they have a solid background, encourage sustainability and continuity from Junior to intermediate and to the senior level.
She called on the ASSDC to empower the state coach, Chidi Onwe and other young enthusiastic tutors toward raising the next generation of stars in the state and beyond.
In his reaction, the Chairman ASSDC, Hon. Tony Oli, commended the former Nigerian champion and Olympian for her exploits, benevolence and philanthropic gesture.
Oli posited that badminton is one sports the commission pays attention to and that the commission is living up to the name in sports development as evidently seen in national sporting programs such as the National Sports Festival and National Youth Games.
The Aguleri-born banker turned sports administrator stated that the game of badminton will be projected via choosing schools from each of the Senatorial zones for the pilot project.
He concluded that the ASSDC will support Solaja’s quest to occupy a position in the aftermath of the elections into the board of the Badminton Federation of Nigeria.
Oby Edoga Solaja was discovered in old Anambra State in 1977 and was nurtured by retired Coach Unyanwa.
She represented the state at Kaduna ’77, Oluoye ’79 and Edo ’81 National Sports Festivals.
Solaja represented the nation at the All Africa Junior Championship in Mozambique and later became the National Women Champion from 1986 to 1996, and African Champion until her retirement after Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games.