A New African Organisation is Formed
The African Badminton Federation was established on 31 August 1977 at a meeting held at Dares Salaam with the objective of increasing the promotion of badminton throughout the African continent.
The meeting was attended by delegates from seven national organisations, all of which were affiliated to the International Badminton Federation (IBF). They were from Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia.
The African Badminton Federation, appointed a president, Mr. Willibard Kente, the honorary secretary of the Tanzanian Badminton Association at the time, and elected an honorary secretary, Mrs. Mariam Hamdan. The African Badminton Federation applied for affiliation to the IBF.
The Early days of African badminton
Ramachandra Balasuperamaniam was Sri Lanka’s delegate to the IBF from 1957 to1960, and its Vice-President from 1969 to 1978. Bala served on the IBF rules and laws, tournament, and the international championships and tournament committees from 1960 to 1987, playing an important part in the changing of the “wood shot” by former president of the IBF, David Bloomer. Because he was promoting badminton in Ghana in 1965 and 1966 he was also able to take a leading role in the formation of the Africa Badminton Federation.
The first Tanzanian Open was held in 1977 at the Technical College sports centre in Dares Salaam with Mr. Kente as convener and tournament director. Without his able leadership we could not have formed the Africa Badminton Federation that now has a membership of more than 42 countries, so it can be seen as a great success.
The next big event, the first African tournament, was held in Beira in Mozambique in 1980. There the Africa Badminton Federation’s first official general meeting was held with Bala as interim Chairman. A constitution was adopted and officers duly elected, with Mr. Willibard Kente as the first Secretary.
Starting A New Era
Professor Ranjit da Silva proposed an All-Africa Junior Championships, which started with the support of the Africa Badminton Federation (ABF) in the town of Ndola in Zambia in 1993.
In July 1994, ABF Senior Badminton Championships were held in Port Elizabeth, South Africa and this was also the first time South African senior players played. An ABF AGM was also held and Professor Ranjit received the IBF Meritorious Service Award from Madame Lu for 15 years of service in Zambia.
Professor da Silva, then President of the Zambia Badminton Association, spent 18 years in Africa, becoming a Vice-President of the All-Africa Badminton Federation (as it was then) and President of zone six. He also became an IBF council member in 1996 and again in 2009, representing Sri Lanka.
The countries taking part in the inaugural tournament were Ghana, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Professor da Silva was chairman of the organising committee and the referee was Arthur Meakin of Zimbabwe.
Professor da Silva also donated the challenge trophy for the team championship, which was won by Nigeria.