At least 28 countries will participate in the 2nd Lagos International Badminton Classics to be hosted by Nigeria.
The championship in its second edition will take place in Lagos from July 15 to 18, 2015 at the Mobolaji Johnson Indoor Sports Hall, Rowe Park, Lagos.
Some of the countries expected at the competition are England, Germany, Belgium, Ireland, Poland, Russia, Turkey, Czech Republic, Mauritius, India, Italy and the United States of America.
Others are Israel, South Africa, France, Portugal, Egypt, Austria, Canada, Slovakia, Hungary, Benin, Ghana, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Uganda, Zambia, and host Nigeria.
The Vice-President of Nigeria Badminton Federation who also doubles as Chairman, Lagos State Badminton Association (LSBA), Francis Orbih, said the Lagos International Classics (LIBC) is an initiative borne out of the need to create an international competition for home grown talents who don’t participate in international tournaments.
“The first edition of the LIBC won the admiration of the world body and it was adopted as an international tournament to give local talents the opportunity to compete with foreigners.
“Last year’s maiden edition had 16 countries participating in the four-day tournament, while the prize money was $10,000 (N20 million. This year’s prize money has risen to $15,000 (N30 million).
“The four-day event is an international competition and players will use it as platform to garner points for world ranking and it is also an opportunity to showcase the positive side of Lagos and Nigeria. We are ready to give the participants the best tournament ever,” Orbih said.
According to him, “the classics is a world-class tournament and players are expected to use it to improve on their world rankings and prepare for the All Africa Games coming up later in the year.
“The championship is open to all players, male and female, and the players will be representing themselves and not their countries,” Orbih said.
Over 80 Nigerian players are expected to compete with their foreign counterparts for cash and world ranking points in the men and women singles, men and women doubles and mixed double events.
With the All Africa Games just a few months away, Technical Director of the Badminton Federation of Nigeria, Tunde Kazeem, expressed confidence in the ability of country’s players to give their foreign counterparts a good fight.
He also expressed confidence that this year’s edition would surpass last year’s which he rated as one of the best badminton tournaments to have taken place in Africa.
Vice President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee, Babatunde Fatai Williams, also said he had no doubt that this year’s championship would be as good, if not better, than last year’s edition and praised LSBA for its efforts at promoting the sport.
He urged other sports associations in the country to emulate LSBA.
Lagos International Sports Classics is an intervention programme of the Lagos State Government, it is a series of international open sporting events geared towards attracting the best continental and global sports talents to the shores of the region.