The 2012 All-Africa Schools Badminton Championship kicked off yesterday with seven countries taking part in the competition being played at the Olympic Youth Development Centre in Lusaka.
Countries taking part in the tournament that runs from December 18 to 22 include Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, Uganda, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and hosts Zambia.
Sports Minister Chishimba Kambwili said the country was happy to host another continental event after the successful hosting of the 2012 Supreme Council for Sports in Africa Zone Six Youth Games that came to an end on Sunday.
Kambwili said during the official opening ceremony of the championship that it was a great moment for the country to continue leading the sporting rhythm obtaining in the country.
He said Government paid particular attention to sports such as badminton, particularly in schools, as they helped in moulding not only future sportsmen and women but also instilling discipline in the youth.
He said the Government would like to strengthen linkages with other African countries through interactive sports like badminton.
Kambwili said he was aware that during the last Commonwealth Games in India, the sport which kept Zambia's flag the highest until the very last moment was badminton where Juma Muwowo lost in the last round of sixteen.
The minister implored officials from Badminton Confederation of Africa (BCA) and all affiliates to look at how teams in the far east had continued to dominate in the sport, saying it was not by chance that those countries were performing well but because they had invested heavily not only in infrastructure, but also in human resource.
And Badminton Association of Zambia president Godfrey Chawinga said the country was given the mandate by BCA to host this year's schools championship because of the good facilities the country boasts and thanked Government for facilitating the hosting of the tournament.
BCA development officer Simon Mugabi congratulated Zambia for winning the tender of hosting the games.