For the first time ever, the five eastern states of Nigeria are gathering for a badminton tournament powered by the lead sports betting company in Nigeria, Bet9ja.
Running from this Thursday through Saturday, the championship will feature contests among senior and under 20 male and female players as well as veterans.
Holding at the indoor sports hall of Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, the project is the brain child of Obiageli Edoga Solaja, the South East representative on the board of the Badminton Federation of Nigeria (BFN).
She is also the Badminton Confederation of Africa’s winner of the African Woman in Badminton Award for 2019 and Nigeria’s first badminton player at the Olympic Games.
She remarked that apart from playing her role as the representative of the South East on the board of BFN, she felt obliged to give back to the zone that produced and nurtured her to international stardom in badminton.
It was in Enugu that she was discovered when at 15, she represented the old Anambra State (now comprising Enugu, Anambra and Ebonyi) at the National Sports Festival in Kaduna in 1977.
Her appetite to give back to the society had seen her teaming up with Community Sport and Educational Development (CSED) Initiative, to organise a two-day grassroot badminton clinic at St Theresa’s College, Nsukka, Enugu State.
At the Bet9ja South East Badminton Championship which her South East Badminton Outreach is organising, each participating state is featuring 12 players.
In both the senior and U-20 categories, there will be contests in male and female singles and doubles as well as mixed doubles. The veterans will feature in singles and doubles.
Winner of the both men and women’s events will get cash prize.
There are also consolation cash prizes for the fifth to eighth placed players.
Since prize money are not given to junior players in badminton, the winners will be given sporting equipments in lieu of cash.