By Muhyideen Jimoh
President of the Badminton Federation of Nigeria, Francis Orbih says the federation will introduce badminton schools competition and junior classics to discover and nuture budding badminton talents in the country.
Orbih disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, while outlining the federation’s effort at grassroots development of the game.
He said plans have been concluded to introduce the secondary schools badminton competition where talents will be discovered and groomed at an early age while still in school.
“The big one for us is the schools programme, that’s the real grassroots.
“We want to start from the secondary schools, we plan to flag it off soon, it’s going to be a very detailed programme where selected games masters will also be trained.
“We intend to have the competition among schools at state, zonal and national levels, where the overall winner represents Nigeria at the Africa Badminton schools championship which is normally in December,” he said.
Orbih said aside the schools competition, the federation will also introduce the U-17 and U-19 badminton championships to complement the senior classics like the Lagos badminton classics.
“We also want to introduce the age-grade championships like the U-17 and U-19.
” We don’t want to fall into the trap of the past, where there is no succession plan.
The only way we can succeed is early identification of those that will step into the shoes of our present national team players and begin to expose them, ” he said.
He said the training and re-training of badminton officials, especially coaches and umpires will also be given special attention going forward.
The president assured that the federation will continue to work with relevant stakeholders to develop the game of badminton in the country.
He called on government at all levels and the private sector to support and sponsor badminton competitions in order to fast track the development of the game in the country. (NAN)