Current National and African Badminton champion, Anuoluwapo Opeyori, has maintained his position as the winner of the men’s singles category of the 4th Mutual Benefits National Badminton Championship for 2023 on Saturday in Lagos.
Opeyori, representing Lagos State, was not only rewarded with N250,000 cash prize, but also received a personal accident insurance cover worth N5 million from Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc, one of the sponsors of the championship.
This insurance cover will provide protection for Opeyori in the event of death, permanent disability, and medical expenses.
The men’s singles category also saw Victor Ikechukwu, representing Rivers State, emerge as the first runner-up and received N200,000 cash prize.
The second and third runners-up in this category were awarded N150,000 cash prizes each.
In the women’s singles category, Ruth Ebere, representing Edo State, emerged as the winner and received N250,000 cash prize.
Deborah Ukeh, also from Edo State, secured the second position and was awarded N200,000.
Moving on to the men’s doubles, Opeyori, partnered with Daniel Christopher of Lagos State, emerged as the winners and received N150,000 cash prize each.
Victor Ikechukwu and Emmanuel Joseph of Rivers State came in second place in this category and received N100,000 each.
In the women’s doubles category, Grace Gabriel and Ramatu Yakubu, representing the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), emerged as the winners and received N150,000 each.
Zainab Alebi and Sofiat Obanisola of Rivers State secured the second position and were awarded N100,000 respectively.
Other winners of the mixed double also got cash prizes varying from N150,000 for the winner, N100,000 for the first runner-up, while the two third runners-up received N75,000.
Dr Akin Ogunbiyi, Group Chairman, Mutual Benefits, expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to sponsor the tournament and announced the one-year personal accident insurance cover for Opeyori.
Ogunbiyi, represented by Mr Joseph Oladokun, Executive Director, Technical operations, Mutual Benefits Assurance, said that the insurance would provide coverage for death, permanent disability, and medical expenses up to N5 million.
He stated that the journey of the insurance company from the edition of the championships in 2017 had been remarkable.
According to the chairman, the insurer is honoured to provide the platform for young, talented Nigerians to showcase their skills, mentorship, grow and set stage for future champions.
“The courts have borne witness to exceptional serves, powerful smashes, agile footwork and a display of passion and dedication from the players.
“We have witnessed remarkable victories, heart-wrenching defeats and moments of sheer magic that will be etched in our memories forever,” he said.
Ogunbiyi said the commitment is an integral part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities as it strive to contribute to the growth and development of the Nigerian Youth and development of sports at different levels.
Ogunbiyi appreciated the leadership of BFN for their dedication to organise the championships and to train and mentor the young athletes.
A lawyer, Mr Francis Orbih, the President of the Badminton Federation of Nigeria (BFN), commended Mutual Benefits for its steadfast support of badminton in Nigeria.
He commended the players for their dedication, resilience, and unwavering support for the sport, noting that they demonstrated the true spirit of badminton through sportsmanship, fair play, and a pursuit of excellence.
He said that the 4th Mutual Benefits National Badminton Championship marks a remarkable resurgence of the sport in Nigeria and a revival, long awaited since the last championship in 2019.
“Mutual Benefits commitment to sports aligns with our vision of promoting badminton as a unifying force, fostering a culture of healthy competition, and a inspiring future generations of athletes,” he said.
Responding, Opeyori expressed his gratitude to Mutual Benefits for sponsoring the tournament, especially considering the current economic challenges in the country.
He acknowledged the company’s support to badminton sports and its players.
He advised other companies and well-meaning Nigerians to also support the tournament to encourage the players and develop badminton as a viable sport.
Reports says that the 4th Mutual Benefits National Badminton Championship, which started on Nov. 29, has no fewer than 160 skilled Athletes from 27 States across the country.
The athletes re competing in various categories for the coveted fourth championship titles, ranking points in the singles, doubles and mixed doubles competitions. (NAN
Sunday Dare, Obaseki, Runsewe, Others Get Recognition at 4th Sportsville Awards
The Immediate past Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo, and Sen. Orji Kalu, on Friday got awarded for their contributions to sports development in Nigeria.
Reports says that the awardees were honoured at the fourth Sportsville Special Recognition Awards, at the Eko Club, Surulere, Lagos.
Other eminent sports personalities were also rewarded for their various contributions to the growth of sports in the country.
Dare got awarded as ‘Sports Administrator of the Year’, while Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo was honoured for providing a state-of-the-art sporting complex, Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, in Benin City.
Kalu and Olusegun Runsewe, President of Nigeria Golf Federation (NGF), got special recognition awards respectively.
Others are Chairman of the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL), Mr Gbenga Elegbeleye; Victor Ochei, former Delta commissioner for sports; Chief Solomon Ogba, and Igoche Mark.
Also on the award list is Eddington Kuejubola, a one time coordinator of the Super Eagles; as well as ace sports journalist and FIFA recognised World Cup attendee, Mr Kunle Solaja, who both got special recognition awards.
Sam Ochebo, President of Handball Federation, got an award for his landmark achievements in development of handball in Nigeria.
The long list of awardees also has Hajiya Zainab Saleh, for pioneering the promotion of women in Karate in Nigeria, while Mrs Hauwa-Kulu Akinyemi, a retired director, got recognised for her prowess in sports administration at the Federal Ministry of Sports.
Uyi Akpata, President of Nigeria Cricket Federation, got an award for championing the growth of Cricket in Nigeria, while Francis Orbih, President of Badminton Federation of Nigeria, Jenkins Alumona and Chikelue Iloenyosi also got rewarded for efforts in their various fields.
Oladimeji Oshode was awarded ‘Media Officer of the Year’.
A post humous award was given to Late Sebastian Brodricks.
Speaking on the event, it’s Chairman and Head of Local Organising Committee, Segun Odegbami, said that the award has made significant development in recognising those that have made sports great in Nigeria.
“This is an opportunity today to recall bits and pieces of our history, particularly the most successful sides.
“Those that received the honours are the ones who have made significant contributions to sports development in Nigeria either in corporate organisations or individual.
“This is a good opportunity for us to recall that history, those who have performed excellently, so I am delighted to be part of this history.
“The award that I also received was a big surprise for me, though not as a footballer, or journalist, but as a chairman of the event,” he said.
In his response, Dare said that he foresees a great future for Nigerian sports given the foundation he had laid while he was the minister.
Also, Akpata said that he would continue to lay solid foundation for cricket in Nigeria. (NAN)
NFF Seeks Increased Corporate Organisations Funding of Nigerian Football
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), has called on corporate organisations to increase support to the federation to help develop football in the country.
The NFF President, Ibrahim Gusau made the call when MTN Nigeria hosted the Super Eagles on Tuesday in Abuja.
Reports says that Super Eagles finished as runner up to the host country, Ivory Coast at the just concluded 2023 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cote d`Ivoire.
Gusau said without finance the team would not have achieved what it achieved in the tournament.
“All of us today would have loved to be celebrating here with the trophy but unfortunately God knows why.
“We thank God at least as we heard from the captain this is the beginning of the new dawn as far as Nigerian football is concerned.
“I want to use this opportunity to thank MTN for their support and I hope that other corporate organisations will come up to see how they can support us the most.
“Without finances we cannot achieve what we have been able to achieve, so we need more corporate organisations to support us to build on what we have so far built,” he said.
The Chairman MTN Board of Directors, Prof. Ernest Ndukwe, said that MTN’s support for the Eagles was its own way of giving back to the society.
“This is because MTN is a sport loving organisation. Over the years, we have always wanted to support the Super Eagles in various ways. MTN is fully committed to continuing the Super Eagles.
“We are building a nation where sports have a great role to play as a unifying force. So if we support sports, we are actually promoting unity among Nigerians,” he said.
The MTN’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Karl Toriola on his part appreciated the emotional commitment of the players to succeed.
“What I liked about this team which we haven’t seen in other teams of other nations was the visible emotional commitment to succeed.
“Unfortunately we didn’t bring the cup home but that is always going to be difficult when you are playing against your host country.
“You guys have shown your complete commitment through your leadership, and we are extremely proud of you supporting the Nigerian football federation and the super eagles,” he said
Head Coach of the Super Eagles, Jose Peseiro, thanked everyone that supported the team all through their preparations and the tournament proper.
“To the NFF I thank you, MTN I thank you, Nigerians I thank you for all the support,”he said
The Assistant Captain of the Super Eagles, Troost Ekong who spoke on behalf of the team, said this was the beginning of a new era.
“Thank you NFF, thank you MTN, thank you Nigerians, thank you our fans. We have given everything we have and have made everyone proud.
“We will be better in the future. Because this is not the end but the beginning of something new and we are hoping for the best,”he said.
Mrs Ifueko Okauru, Board Member, MTN Nigeria and former Chairman of Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), said MTN supported all gender, age brackets, abled and disabled persons in the society.
“MTN supports all genders and all of us able and disabled, young and old. Whatever is needed to support MTN is here to support.
“Sports development is more than just what corporate organisations do; it needs significant funding and it also needs passion to ensure that this is done and done excellently.
“I must say though we all love sports, the fans are a major part of sports development.
“The economic condition of the fans is very important to ensure that as a corporate organization, we drive sports development by encouraging fans development and developing businesses around sports to grow sports,” he said. (NAN)
Côte d’Ivoire wins African Cup of Nations after Defeating Nigeria.
THE host, Elephants Of Ivory Coast beat Super Eagles of Nigeria 2-1 to win the Africa Cup of Nations 2023.
It’s was all Ivory Coast but they weren’t able to make their possession count and Nigeria strike with their first serious attempt in the 38th minute.
A corner is only half cleared to William Troost-Ekong who powers a header into the net.
The centre-back and captain Troost-Ekong has scored three goals at this year’s Afcon.That’s one more than he managed during his whole 68 appearances in three seasons at Watford.
Ivory Coast got a deserved equaliser in the 62nd minute, as poor marking allows Franck Kessie to head his country back with a fine corner from Gradel.
The host took the lead in the 81st-Minute, the roof came off as Sebastien Haller sticks out a leg to turn Simon Adingra’s cross past Super Eagles keeper, Nwabali.
The Super Eagles have lost more Afcon finals than they have won.
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