Despite the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic that has stopped most of the sporting and social events, the Badminton Federation of Benin, in close collaboration with the Badminton Confederation Africa (BCA), held a 2-week spectacular badminton extravaganza from the 16th of August to 1st of September 2021, in the city of Ouidah, Benin. To ensure the safety of all the participants, the local organizing committee worked closely with the Benin health authorities and the BCA to enforce the set Covid 19 regulations.
The BCA took this opportunity to train and assess 18 more umpires from Benin, Ghana, and Togo in line with its strategic plan to increase qualified technical officials in Africa, . The 3-day course was the first of its kind to be held in the West African region. It was also the first to be conducted in both French and English languages simultaneously. The participants also got the opportunity to be accessed, practically during the tournaments, by Mr. Faadil Sayid and Mr. Emmanuel Kgaboetsile, BWF Accredited Umpires & BCA Umpire Assessors.
“I am happy to have followed the umpire training. I have learned a lot from Mr. Emmanuel, Mrs. Harriett, and Mr. Faadil during the training.
I can confidently say that I have now mastered the laws of badminton, the instructions of the technical officials and many other things in the refereeing of badminton and I am proud of it” BEDE BIGNON, – UMPIRE
Since the inception of this program, the BCA has trained close to 200 technical officials across its Member Associations. This year the BCA was also privileged to conduct two online referee’s courses.
“We had enough theory sessions which adequately prepared us for the practical officiating hours and practical exams. The content and areas covered were very useful to our performance in officiating. These were done in a relaxed but professional atmosphere. The number of hours allocated for training (theory and practical) were sufficient and profitable.” Gabriel Atseku, Umpire.
The fourth edition of Benin International was next on the menu. The tournament was held from the 18th to the 21st of August at the IRSP Ouidah gymnasium. 8 countries including; Germany, Cameroon, South Africa, Ghana, Benin, Niger, India, Kazakhstan, took part in the competition. The South African team overcame the sudden loss of their federation’s President Dr. Klass Visser, to emerge the winners in the women’s singles through the sterling performance of the ever-impressive Miss. Johanita Scholtz, while the silver medal went to her compatriot Deidre Laurens Jordaan. Adjele Joeline Degbey of Benin and Madeleine Carene Leticia Akoumba Ze of Cameroon both won a deserved bronze medal for their countries. The impressive run of the South Africans continued in women doubles setting up an all-South African final affair. Demi Botha and Deidre Laurens Jordaan won the Gold Medal, while Amy Ackerman and Diane Olivier took silver. Adjele Joeline Degbey, Pernelle Fabossou of Benin and Prospera Nantuo, Cindy Tornyenyor of Ghana settled for Bronze. It was the same scenario in the Mixed Doubles with the South African pair of Jarred Elliot and Deidre Laurens Jordaan clinching the Gold while their teammates Cameron Coetzer and Amy Ackerman took silver. The bronze medal went to Kelvin Evans Alphous and Prospera Nantuo of Ghana and Robert White, Diane Olivier of South Africa. Gideon Babalola and Habeeb Temitope Bello spoiled the party for the South Africans in the Men’s Doubles by clinching Gold as the South Africans took both the Silver and Bronze. Daniel Steyn and Bongani von Bodenstein took Silver. Ruan Snyman, Robert Summers, and Cameron Coetzer, Jarred Elliot won the Bronze.
The 9th edition of the under 15 African badminton championships was up next on stage at the at the same venue in Ouidah, from the 22nd to the 26th of August. Benin, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Ghana, Mauritius, Niger, South Africa, Senegal were among the 8 participating countries.
In the individual event, Boy’s singles category, Seif Omar of Egypt won the Gold medal while Shang Nii Francis of Ghana took silver. Cullen Kakora of South Africa and Ziad Hesham of Egypt settled for Bronze. The girl’s singles saw Reem Hussein of Egypt win Gold, Tiya Bhurtun of Mauritius Silver, Alya ElGhandour, and Hadia ElGendy of Egypt Bronze. The doubles pair of Seif Omar & Ziad Hesham of Egypt were the Gold medallist in the Boys doubles, while Bhaugeerotee P Dusyant & Tejas Savoo of Mauritius were Silver medallists. The bronze medal in this category went to Adu-Mintah Obabompa, Shang Nii Francis of Ghana, and Tapsoba Abdoul Fatao, Masshoud Ouedraogo of Burkina Faso. The Girls doubles category was a two-country only affair. Alya ElGhandour and Reem Hussein won the Gold medal, while their compatriots, Habiba Youssri and Fatema Rabee took the Silver. Yi Wen Li Emily, Nehal Thomas and Hadiyah Carrim, Callista Ramowtar of South Africa settled for Bronze. In an all Egypt final, Ziad Hesham & Alya ElGhandour retained the Mixed doubles title by beating their compatriots Seif Omar, and Reem Hussein who took silver. The Mixed doubles of Tejas Savoo, Layna Luxmi Chiniah, of Mauritius, and Lourens Scheffer, Callista Ramowtar of South Africa settled for Bronze.
The Egyptians were the Champions in the Team event, followed by Mauritius who took silver. South Africa and Ghana came in third.
Egypt was crowned the 9th edition Under 15 African badminton champions with a total of 11 medals: 6 Gold, 2 Silver, 3 bronze. Mauritius came in second with 4 medals: 3 silver, 1 bronze, and Ghana a close third with 3 medals: 1 Silver and 2 bronze.
The under 19 African badminton Championships was the last on the chopping board. This competition which saw the participation of 11 countries, held all its promises of being an exciting tournament. The young African badminton players demonstrated the extent of their talent and expertise in the game. In the team competition, South Africa won the gold medal followed by Egypt’s Silver. Uganda and Mauritius won the bronze medal. In the individual competition, the all South African men’s final was won by Kakora Caden who beat fellow South African Robert white 2 sets to 0 (21-16: 21-17). The women’s finals pitted the Egyptian Nour Youssri against the South African Amy Ackermann. Nour rose to the task by beating her opponent 2 sets to 0 (21-13 and 21-15). In the men’s doubles, the South Africans Caden Kakora and Robert White faced the Egyptians Magdy Abdasasakta and Ali Banshwany. The South Africans won the match 2 sets to 0 (21-16 and 21-19). In the women’s doubles category, the South Africans Amy Ackermann and Olivier Diane met the Egyptians Nour Youssri and Abdekader Mohammed. The South Africans won 2 sets to 0 (21-19 and 26-24). The second set went to the wire but it wasn’t the Egyptians day, the South Africans won the match and took the gold medal. The mixed doubles final was played between two South African pairs. Robert White and Amy Ackermann challenged Caden Kakora and Diane Olivier. In the end, Amy Ackermann and Robert white beat their compatriot Caden Kakora and Diane Olivier 2 sets to 0.
South Africa won 4 gold medals and Egypt won a gold medal in the women’s singles.
To bring down the curtain on this magnificent event, the president of the BCA, Mr. Michel BAU from Seychelles, and the Secretary General Mr. Sahir Edoo held a press conference. This was an opportunity for the President and his Secretary-General, to show the face of African badminton, and especially to reiterate the vision of the Confederation for the development of the discipline.
The President, Michel BAU and the Secretary General Sahir Edoo, enumerated the great strides made in implementing the BCA Development agenda and strategic plan of empowering the developing Member Associations to host major championships. A case in point, Benin hosting the African championships of U15 and U19. The President also noted that the tournament in Benin marked the start of how the Confederation will be presenting its events to build more spectators and attract sponsors from the corporate world.
The Secretary-General of the Confederation said that the matches taking place in the IRSP gymnasium in Ouidah are a testimony to the fact that the development program put in place is evolving well given the performance of the athletes. The developed Member Associations namely South Africa, Egypt, Mauritius, and Nigeria are now being given a run for their money by smaller Member Associations like Uganda, Ghana, Cameroon and Benin which proves, each MA of the continent has the ambition to have its Badminton Star.
To support and encourage the players, the Secretary General also announced that the winners of the U19 singles categories will be awarded a full scholarship to attend the Badminton Europe Centre of Excellence, in Denmark, for one month training.
Finally, President Michel BAU thanked Benin for the hospitality and especially the quality of the organization which was impeccable. This proves that Benin can host other events of the Confederation he said. Present at this press conference, the President of the Benin Badminton Federation said that Benin supports the development of the discipline and that these competitions are a springboard for Beninese athletes who will not be ridiculed anymore.