LAGOS INT BADMINTON CLASSICS
Nigeria’s Isiaq Usman was the hero of the day at the ongoing Lagos International Badminton Classics after his hard won victory over top seed, Duarte Nuno Anjo from Portugal.
The Portuguese star, seeded number five in the tournament got more than he bargained for as he was shown the exit door in the men’s singles event to the admiration of packed crowd at the Molade Okoya-Thomas hall of Teslim Balogun stadium.
Usman, who is an undergraduate of Kwara State Polytechnic turned the table against his experienced counterpart to clinch a slot in the quarterfinal with a 2-1 win.
Before setting up a second round battle against the European, Usman had beaten Ugandaâ€™s Jacob Musisi 2-0 while his performance against the Portuguese gave Nigeria something to cheer.
From the start of the encounter against the Portuguese, the Kwara State-born Usman played with a lot of caution taking instruction from his coach throughout the encounter.
When it was clear that the Nigerian was taking charge, the Portuguese had to submit in the third match to bow out in style.
In his post match interview, an excited Usman said he played according to his coach’s instruction gave him a big advantage in the match.
â€œI think what really worked for me in the encounter was because I listened to every instruction passed by my coach. He told me to always drive my shot and block to the net. And that if I have any sure ball, I should smash it. All these really helped me a lot in the match. I am so happy and I am looking forward to my next match against the Egyptian who is the number three seed.â€
The second Nigeria in the last eight is Anuoluwapo Opeyori who also defeated his compatriots to berth in the quarterfinal round of the championships.
Today in the menâ€™s quarterfinal, Nigeriaâ€™s two surviving players, Usman will face Egyptâ€™s Ahmed Salah while Opeyori will battle against number four seed, Indiaâ€™s Rahul Yadav Chittaboina.
Elated coach Samson Egbeyemi believes the Nigerian players have the potential to do better while hoping that Usman and Opeyori would come through in the quarterfinal ties.