Rivers Government said it is excited hosting the 18th All African Senior Badminton Championships in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
Governor Nyesom Wike disclosed this at the opening ceremony of the championships tagged: ‘Port Harcourt 2019,’ yesterday.
Wike, represented by the Deputy Governor, Ipalibo Harry-Banigo, thanked the Badminton Confederation of Africa (BCA) for granting Nigeria the hosting right.
“We are delighted to host Africa and we are extremely excited that the BCA supported Nigeria to host the championship.
“I assure all the participants that they will enjoy the traditional of hospitality of the state, and by the time you are done, you will desire to come back,” he said.
According to Wike, sports is an important aspect of human life as it drives unity and development.
“So, I expect that African continent can showcase great talents with sports to drive our unity and development,” he said.
The BCA President, Tukebana Bau, said the championships came back to Nigeria after a very long wait of 19 years.
“The BCA is committed to not only help badminton players in any corner of Africa but to also make sure we choose the best country for our major event.
“The confederation, being an athlete, centred organisation is committed to the welfare of players and to make sure they are provided with the best facility for training and championships,” he said.
Bau thanked the Nigerian and Rivers governments for accepting to host the chamioonships with 14 countries already participating, the highest in history of the event.
Earlier, Commissioner for Sports, Boma Iyaye, assured that the state is a destination for international sports events.
Iyaye said the state has showcased to the world that it is a centre of hospitality.
In his remarks, President of Badminton Federation of Nigeria, Francis Orbih, said the state government’s model for development is worthy of emulation, as it is using sports to drive social development with the sponsorship of local, state, national and international tournaments.