Bad­minton: We want to qual­ify for 2020 Olympics, says Or­bih

The Punch - - SPORTS - ’Tosin Oluwalowo

Pres­i­dent of the Bad­minton Fed­er­a­tion of Nige­ria, Fran­cis Or­bih, says the fed­er­a­tion hopes to con­sol­i­date on their achieve­ments in 2019 by qual­i­fy­ing for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.

In an in­ter­view with our correspond­ent on Wed­nes­day, Or­bih said the fed­er­a­tion is putting plans in place to en­sure their play­ers are ex­posed to qual­ity train­ing to achieve the feat.

“Our ma­jor tar­get for the year is to qual­ify for the Olympics. Our qual­i­fi­ca­tion pe­riod runs till April, so, be­tween now and April, our three play­ers who stand a good chance to qual­ify have to keep play­ing dif­fer­ent qual­i­fiers,” he told The PUNCH.

“Two of them are in Den­mark now for a month, and be­fore they come back, they will pay two in­ter­na­tion­als, Es­to­nia and Swedish, then come back home to join their team­mates to pre­pare for the All African Se­nior Cham­pi­onships where we are go­ing to de­fend our ti­tle in Egypt in Fe­bru­ary and that is also an Olympic qual­i­fier.

“Af­ter that, we will play Kenya, Uganda in­ter­na­tion­als and maybe one or two oth­ers be­fore the close of the qual­i­fi­ca­tion pe­riod in April.

“Af­ter qual­i­fi­ca­tion, we will start pre­par­ing the play­ers, while we play the West African In­ter­na­tional Cir­cuit of Ghana, Benin Repub­lic and Ivory Coast just be­fore the La­gos In­ter­na­tional. We will then play La­gos In­ter­na­tional, af­ter which we will head for the Olympics,” he added.

He also said the BFN in­tends to in­tro­duce age grade tour­na­ments on the do­mes­tic scene to add to the al­ready ex­ist­ing cham­pi­onships.

“On the do­mes­tic scene, we hope to hold the fourth edi­tion of Mu­tual Ben­e­fits Na­tional Bad­minton Cham­pi­onships and the Katsina Golden Spa and see if we can in­crease the num­ber of na­tional cham­pi­onships from the two that we have.

“While do­ing that, we also want to tar­get age grades by in­tro­duc­ing at least one U-17 and U-19 tour­na­ments to the na­tional cham­pi­onships.”

He also said coaches will be sent for train­ings and re­fresher cour­ses to sharpen their skills.

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