Nigeria’s Eniola Bolaji made history on Sunday, becoming the first African to qualify for the final and win gold at a major para badminton international championship.
Bolaji defeated Ukraine’s Oksana Kozyna 18-21, 21-14, 21-18 at the 2021 Spanish Para-Badminton International Championship in Cartegena to claim gold.
Competing in the Female Standing 3 category, the Nigerian lost the first game 18-21, but came back to win the last two games 21-14, 21-18, to secure the historic gold medal.
With the victory, she has also qualified for the World Para-Badminton Championship in Japan in October.
Chairman, Caretaker Committee, Badminton Federation of Nigeria, Frank Orbih, said Bolaji’s victory was a test of the great prospects of para-badminton in Nigeria, if given support and attention.
“She (Bolaji) played in an international tournament for the first time with an amazing performance, winning gold in the single SL3 event and qualifying for the world championship in Japan come October,” Orbih said.
A minute of applause was held to remember coach/player, Bello Oyebanji, who died in an auto crash while trying to secure a visa for the tournament, during the medal presentation ceremony.
“It is a huge consolation for the badminton family that coach Oyebanji did not die in vain. It is a very emotional one for us. It shows that with consistency and resilience the results will always come,” Orbih added.