*Obiageli Solaja praises new efforts to lift game
*Dorcas Adesokan defeats Ruth Ebere to saunter into semis
Proceedings at the ongoing 1st Katsina Golden star Badminton Championship is getting to where the boys are now being separated from the men at the Quarter final stage of the championship. Favourite Clement Krobapor of the NSCDC secured a semi final berth by beating Eneojo Abah of Kaduna state 2-1 in a very competitive encounter which lasted 54 minutes.
Clement who continued his reign as Nigeria’s number one and second in Africa in the latest ranking published on Thursday lost the first game 19-21 but rallied back to win 19-21, 23-21, 21-19 to qualify for the semi final of the competition.
In other games played on Friday, Usman Isiaq beat Kayode Mope 21-16, 21-19. Odunayo Olawale of Ogun state lost to Daniel Philips 18-21, 16 -21 while Anuoluwapo Opeyori battled back to defeat his doubles partner Godwin Olufua fondly called Chon wei by admirers 15-21, 21-19, 21-8.
With an eye on Saturday’s final Korobapo will play Usman Isiaq the conqueror of Kayode Mope while Anuoluwapo ranked 6th in Africa takes on Daniel Philips of Adamawa state.
In the Women’s category, the highest ranked Nigerian Dorcas Adesokan of Ogun state beat her opponent Ruth Ebere of Golden star Badminton Club 21-12, 21-10, Tosin Atolagbe Davies was ruthless when beating Funke Aiyenugba of Oyo state 21-6, 21 -11 in just 21 minutes.
Deborah Ukeh edged past Aminat Ilori 21-10, 21-9 while Nigeria’s number three player Zainab Momoh showed class in over powering Omotola Felicia of Ogun state 21-9, 21-13 in 19 minutes.
In the Men’s doubles event the duo of Jimkam and Menaphee crushed the duo of Bakari and Musa 21-13, 21-18 to progress to the quarter final stage of the competition. Jimkam blamed injury for not participating in the Men’s singles event.
“I am happy we won and as you can see I have been out of the game for a year because I needed to treat myself. I doubt if I will be playing in the singles event in Lagos but I want to regain fitness playing the doubles”. In other selected results, the duo of Habeeb and Usman defeated Marvelous Ismah 21-12, 21 -12. Mujitapha and Ahmed beat Christopher and Funsho 22-20, 21 -15 in a keenly contested encounter.
Meanwhile, African Champion between 1986 and 1993 Mrs Obiageli Solaja has expressed confidence with the programme of the new board that Nigeria will regain its dominance in Africa again.
The Olympian said she was shocked with the standard of the game while hailing the commitment of the players who turned out to participate in the championship from 26 states.
“As a board member, I am really optimistic that the young players who have shown promises will take Badminton to another level. You can see that despite the lack of tournaments some players were outstanding which means the future of Badminton is bright”.
On Saturday five final matches would be played with the Men and Women singles, Men and Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles.