5 December 2012

Nigeria: Delta, Rivers Clinch Gold in Badminton Team Events

Photo: Kehinde Gbadamosi/Vanguard
The High Jump Games, Miss Esiekpe Young, River State During the 18th National Sports Festival

Teams Delta and Rivers Tuesday won the gold medals in the men and women's badminton team events at the ongoing 18th National Sports Festival in Lagos, tagged 'Eko 2012'.

In the men's category Team Delta defeated Team Rivers 3-0 to clinch the gold medal, while Team Rivers overpowered Team FCT 2-1 in the women's category to win the gold.

In the men's team event, Teams Delta, Rivers, Kwara/Ogun clinched the gold, silver and bronze medals, respectively.

Also, in the women's category, Teams Rivers, FCT, Delta/Ogun won gold, silver and bronze, respectively.

Coach of the Rivers team, Anthony Jimoh, expressed delight over his female players' achievement, saying he was optimistic of claiming more medals in the singles, doubles and mixed doubles events.

"The team events have brought me medals both in the male and female categories and I am happy about it.

"My players put in their best and their best was good enough for the medals they won.

"I am not writing other teams off because they are equally good. When the singles, doubles and mixed doubles start, that is when the competition will be tick," Jimoh said.

His Delta counterpart, Fatai Tokosi, told NAN that the best had yet to come from his team and that they hoped to win more medals as the competition progressed.

"The individual games will prove our ability," Tokosi said.

In his reaction, Bello Oyebanji, coach of Kwara, said that the players in the competition had really improved the standard of the game.

He praised the Lagos State Government for building a modern indoor hall for badminton.

"Unlike the Games in Port-Harcourt in 2011 where we played all games outside, it was very difficult for players to really express themselves.

"The standard of the game has really improved as players are more committed to show their flexibility and other basic skills. This is what has helped my team," Oyebanji added.

Meanwhile, Rivers, the Abula defending champion at the ongoing 18th National Sports Festival in Lagos, Tuesday successfully defended its mixed doubles gold medal with a 3-2 victory over Team Bayelsa.

Team Lagos won the event's bronze medal with a 3-1 defeat of Team Imo, in the third place match.

And in a related development, Rivers State Abula Head Coach, Paul Asaah, has boasted of retaining the remaining two gold medals at stake in the male and female categories, at the festival.

"We are the defending champions of the game in the event's three categories, the male, female and the mixed doubles and we are sure of defending our titles.

"The victory in the mixed doubles is the beginning. We are also going to emerge the winner in the male and female categories too.

"We are fully prepared to defend our title to prove our superiority. Let them leave the gold medals for Rivers and share the rest," he said.

Team Rivers Captain, Fred Lawrence, said that the team had concluded everything necessary in terms of preparations and the determination to win the three gold medals at stake in the tournament.

"The first gold medal is never a surprise; this is what we have dreamt of and believe will be realised, considering our preparations and determination.

"We will continue to defend the event even at the 19th edition of the tournament in Calabar in 2014," he said.

Head Coach of Team Bayelsa, Stella Briseimo, expressed disappointment over her team's failure to snatch the gold.

"The silver medal is not bad but we dreamt of the gold medal nevertheless, we will try to clinch the gold medal in the male category," she said.

Briseimo, however, said that the team would prepare harder for the next edition of the tournament in Calabar.

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