Dorcas Adesokan, Nigeria’s top-seeded badminton player, has expressed delight that she was able to reach the podium at the just-concluded 4th Lagos International Badminton Classics.
The competition which served off on July 18 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, ended on July 21 with India topping the medals table with three gold and three silver medals.
Misha Zilberman of Israel crushed Ramdam Misburn of Maylasia, 10-21, 21-19, 21-12 in a hard-fought game to emerge the men’s singles champion.
Ksenia Polikaprova beat Sree Krishina Priya, 20-22, 21-16 and 27-25 in a thrilling encounter to claim the women’s singles title.
The duo of India’s Manu Attri and Sumeeth Reddy defeated their compatriots, Vaibhaav T.and Prakash Rajs, 21-12, 21-12 to claim the men’s doubles gold medal.
Similarly, Riya Mookerjee and Kuhoo Garg beat fellow Indians, Harka V. and Karishima W., 21-12, 21-12 to emerge the women’s doubles champions.
It was also an all-Indian mixed doubles final as the duo of Manu Attri and Manessha K. defeated Roman Kapoor and Kuhoo Garkg, 21-11, 22-20 to claim the available gold medal.
Nigeria’s Adesokan, playing one of her toughest games so far, reached the podium by finishing in the third position in the women’s singles.
She told the News Agency of Nigeria after receiving her first-ever championship medal that she can only get better as she worked her socks off to reach the podium.
Adesokan said: “I am happy about my achievement. I can only get better, with a longer period in training and better preparations; I know I will be aiming for the gold in coming editions.
“I met a lot of top players from India, Indonesia and other European nations and was able stand my ground to progress ahead of them.
“With more championships coming up, the future is very bright for us in Nigeria and all we have to do is to just continue to work very hard.
“This is what other players coming from other countries do; there is no magic but hard work, and with better preparations, we will get to dominate the scene soon.”
Anuoluwapo Opeyori, who made it to the men’s singles quarterfinals, also said that it was a great result for him, going by the quality of foreign players at the championships.
Opeyori said: “There were 22 countries in the competition and majority were top players, looking to gather some points to help their world rankings. This made the championship highly competitive.
“I got to the quarterfinals and sincerely, I feel good about it, I have seen areas I need to work on, I feel I am getting closer to winning a medal someday soon.
“With longer periods of training and good preparations, I believe I can achieve that.”
The President, Badminton Federation of Nigeria, Francis Orbih, told NAN that the future is bright for badminton in Nigeria, with more corporate sponsors turning in their support.
He also expressed gratitude to the Lagos State Sports Council for the financial and moral support it has given to badminton in Nigeria.
Orbih said: “It was a successful competition and we are looking ahead for better championship finals where Nigerians would be winning the top prizes.
“We will return to the drawing board and see how to get the players to that level which has to come with good training and more national competitions.
“It has also been a successful event, looking at the number of participants from foreign countries and we expect it to get even bigger next year because it is an Olympic year.
“We thank everybody who has made this year’s event a wonderful one and we are confident of hosting much bigger ones subsequently.’’