LAGOS – The Lagos International Badminton served off on Wednesday with 15 countries at Rowe Park, Yaba.

A total of 162 athletes drawn from the 15 countries are competing for honours in the competition.

The participating countries are: Botswana, France, Italy, Indonesia, Slovenia, Ghana, Austria, Canada, and Uganda.

Others are USA, Benin Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Israel, Russia and host Nigeria.

The competition is scheduled to end on June 7.

A former national Number One badminton female player, Bridget Ibeneri, who is an official at the tournament, told NAN that she was impressed with the number of entries.

Ibenri said that the number of athletes up for the challenge was tremendous, which indicated that that the sport was still widely accepted.

“I was amazed when I saw the number of entries which means that badminton is still here to stay.

“I am happy to see that the sport I once played and presently teach is still widely accepted globally but only requires more effort for wider acceptance in Nigeria,” she said.

Ibeneri, now a badminton Coach at the National Institute of Sport (NISports), National Stadium, Lagos, said that the tournament would put Nigeria in a good light.

“We would get international recognition and it will aid in boosting our ranking and reputation,” she said.

The coach appealed to the nation’s representatives at the competition to use the opportunity to build themselves up.

“The competition is right here in their country and it is a good way to have a feel of how badminton is played internationally,” she said.

NAN reports that the total prize money for the competition is 15, 000 dollars for winners in the different categories. (NAN)

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