LUGOGO STADIUM, KAMPALA: Favored Deada Jean Yves Yao led the pack of notable Para badminton stars who crashed out at the semifinals stage of the Africa Para badminton stage. Making his debut on the global stage last year at the Uganda Para badminton when he qualified for the World Para badminton Championships in Japan in the Standing Lower (SL)3, Deada was one of the favorites to clinch Gold in this class at the Africa Championships.
“My experience in the World Championships in Japan was out of this world and emotional,” he said. “I still pinch myself when I think about it just to make sure it was real and not a dream. From the streets of Ivory Coast to representing Africa at the World Championships is an unimaginable feat by all standards. At the World Championships, I discovered a new level of Para badminton. Everything was so professional, and for the first time, I saw a Para badminton match take 2 hours.”
Qualifying for the semifinals by beating Uganda’s Kizza Edward Kabonge in two straight games of 21-4, 21-7, the stage was set for his encounter with Nigeria’s Chukwuebuka Sunday Eze, who earlier defeated Uganda’s David Mukisa 21-11, 21-11.
“The level of this competition has really improved,” said Deada. “I worked tirelessly in preparation for this championship, but as fate would have it, it wasn’t my day. My opponent from Nigeria was very good, and I believe it’s God’s way for me to lose. Now I have to go back to the drawing board and work hard if I want to qualify for the Paralympic Games in Paris,” he added.
Deada is among the select African Para badminton players in the Road to Paris Paralympic Games scholarship. The BCA, as part of its strategic pillar to ensure African representation and effective competition at the Paris Paralympic Games, is financially supporting these players to attend tournaments during this qualification period.
Other notable African stars who crashed out at the semifinal stage include 2020 Tokyo Paralympian Rita Asiimwe and Elizabeth Mweisigwa. The Ugandan duo lost to the Nigerian pair of Mariam Eniola Bolaji and Chinyere Lucky Okoro in the Women’s Doubles SL3 – SU5 combination 21-10, 21-7.
“Despite my loss,” said Ritah, “I have really made improvements in my overall performance. My experience in the Spanish training camp and my participation at the World Championships were a great eye-opener. I look forward to the rest of the tournaments in the qualification period. I have a real good chance to represent my country again at the Paralympic Games, so I appeal to all sponsors to come on board to make this dream a reality.”
The BCA will be offering more training opportunities for the players in the scholarship program starting in October in Egypt. In collaboration with the BWF, a series of Para badminton workshops will be held in Egypt.
Check out the rest of the day’s results in the link