After 24 years hiatus, the country’s biggest badminton tournament, the Ikoyi Club 1938 National Badminton Classic, will make a return beginning from Wednesday, December 13 through December 16, 2023.
The second edition of the Classic last held in 1999.
Speaking at the unveiling of programmes lined up for this third edition of the Classic, President of the Nigeria Badminton Federation (BFN), Francis Orbih, said at the weekend that the country’s best 16 Men and 16 Women players will be on display in the quests to win the mouth-watering prizes at stake.
“This competition started as a National Badminton Open in 1989 and nine editions took place before it became the Ikoyi Club Nationl Badminton Classic. Two editions of the Classic held between 1998 and 1999 before it went into the cooler. But thank God that after 24 years absence, the Classic is back bigger,” began Orbih whose tenure at BFN has given the sport a new lease of life in the country.
He however admitted that for this edition, only the top ranked Men’s 16 and the Women’s 16 players will compete for the prize money at stake, stressing that from the next edition, all the other categories like the Men and Women’s doubles as well as the Mixed doubles will be featured.
“In the past, if you have not played the Ikoyi Club Classic, you have not yet played badminton in Nigeria. We are determined to make it the competition that top badminton players look forward to with excitement,” stressed the BFN Chief.
Interestingly, the return of the Classic has heralded the creation of a Badminton Hall of Fame, where personalities that have contributed to the growth of the sport in Nigeria would be appreciated and recognised.
“The idea behind the Badminton Hall of Fame is to recognise and appreciate those who have contributed to the game while they are alive and not when gone and no longer with us,” hinted Orbih who stressed that those to be honored will be unveiled on the final day of the event.
Chairman of the Badminton Section of Ikoyi Club 1938, Thomas Adeoye, expressed his excitement over the return of the Classic, stressing that the section will do everything to ensure that it holds annually without a break anymore.
Seven past chairmen of the Badminton section of the top club in Lagos were in attendance at the unveiling of the programme to give their support for the Classic.
Apart from the prize money of N500,000, N300,000 and N150,000 on offer for the winner, first runner up and the third place winner in the Men’s and Women’s categories, all players at this edition will get an amount for playing in the Classic, right from the round-robin in the group stage, quarter final, semi final and final.