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Glamorous ending at revived Ikoyi Club National Badminton Classics

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It was almost a first time experience for most of the players as the third edition of the Ikoyi Club Badminton Classics ended in grand style last Saturday.

The championship had just been revived after it was last held 24 years ago, meaning that most of the players were not born when it was last held in 1999.

It turned a worthwhile experience as being a classic, only the ranked players were eligible to participate. In this case, only the first 16 ranked players were involved.

It was a thriller from beginning to the end. The opening round was a round robin leading to the quarter-finals which produced the usual suspects – Anuoluwapo Opeyori Juwon (Lagos), Hansen Bello (Oyo), Victor Ikechukwu (Rivers) and Aliyu A.Shehu (Niger) – who proceeded to the semi-finals in the Men’s Singles.

The Women’s Singles event was equally thrilling. Dorcas Ajoke Adesokan (Ogun), Ruth Chinenye Over (Edo), Sofiyat Arinola Obanishola (Rivers) and Deborah Ukeh Divine (Edo) were the survivors in the quarter finals who clichéd the semi final berths.

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At this stage,  experience spoke loud. Anuoluwapo Opeyori Juwon secured a comfortable win over Habeeb Temitope  Bello (Oyo) 21-8, 21-7 (2-0) while Victor Ikechukwu (Rivers) was able to overcome Aliyu Alhaji Shehu (Niger) 21-18, 21-19 (2-0) to proceed to the title match in the Men’s Singles.

In the Woman’s Semifinals, Dorcas A. Adesokan won over Ruth C.Ibere 21-13, 21-15 (2-0) while Sofiyat A.Obanishola (Rivers) triumphed over Deborah Ukeh Divine (Edo) 21-18, 21-10 (2-0) to book a spot in the final.

The title fights were titanic. Anuoluwapo Opeyori Juwon (Lagos) was able to edge out Victor Ikechukwu (Rivers) 23-21, 17-21, 21-11 (2-1) to win the Men’s Singles title.

In the Women’s Singles,  Dorcas A.Adesokan (Ogun) was also able to prevail over Sofiyat A.Obanishola of Rivers to win the gold.

During the prize giving, awards and presentations that followed, Oba Adedapo Tejuoso was inducted into the Nigerian Badminton Hall of Fame as the first inductee. It was in recognition of his unwavering dedication and invaluable contribution to the development of badminton in Nigeria and Africa.

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The Prize money was as follows:-

Men’s Singles:

1st                     ​​= N500,000

2nd               ​    ​= N300,000

Joint   3rd & 4th ​= N150,000 each

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5th – 8th  ​     ​​= N100,000 each

9th – 16th  ​  ​= N50,000 each

 

Women’s Singles:

1st                     ​​= N500,000

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2nd               ​    ​= N300,000

Joint   3rd & 4th ​= N150,000 each

5th – 8th  ​     ​​= N100,000 each

9th – 16th  ​  ​= N50,000 each.

 

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One of the sponsors of the event, Mirror Homes Investment gave title documents for half plots of land in their estate in Lagos to each of the Men’s and Women’s singles winners.

The President of the Badminton Federation of Nigeria, Francis Orbih expressed his delight at the resounding success of the championship and conveyed the appreciation and gratitude of the Badminton Federation under his leadership and of the players for this great support.

He also reiterated the Board’s resolve to go the extra mile in making all avenues of development of the game and players are explored.

 

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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