BY KUNLE SOLAJA.
As the African flagship badminton championship, the Lagos International Classics gets to its crescendo, innovative airline, ValueJet has brought tremendous value into the event holding at the Molade Okoya Thomas Hall situated at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.
The burden of cash prize was at the last minute augmented by the airline, whose owner, Kunle Soname runs a chain of sports-friendly companies.
Soname owns the trail-blazing Remo Stars which two seasons consecutively secured continental tickets. His Bet9ja outfit is the most visible on-line betting outfit in Nigeria.
Along with Optimus Bank and Optima Energy Resources, both Bet9ja and ValueJet kept Nigerian football alive during the two-month season break through their sponsorship of series of pre-season tournaments.
ValueJet’s coming into badminton championship has added to the tremendous support that the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has offered to sustain the continental flagship badminton event.
The Lagos Classics which is in its sixth edition, has been variously described as the highest category of Badminton World Federation-sanctioned championship to be hosted by any African Country.
The rating of the Classics also affords the participants, including Nigerian players, the opportunity to garner points towards qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympics as well as improve their BWF World ranking.
Over 108 players from 35 countries are currently jostling for the biggest cash prize in any badminton court in Africa. They are joined by 43 Nigerian players competing for podium finish as well as gathering points to aid their entries for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
President of the Badminton Federation of Nigeria (BFN) and council member of the continental body, BCA, Francis Orbih remarked that he was immensely grateful to the governor as well as Hon. Soname.
“Without their timely backing, we would not have been able to achieve the level of success we have attained, even as we look forward to a bigger tournament next year” Orbih stated.