The Youth and Sports Development Minister, Mr. Sunday Dare has heaped praises on Mrs. Oby Solaja following the honour bestowed on her as the recipient of the 2019 African Women in Badminton Award.
The award, just days after Naomi Oyinloye broke a 20-year jinx to become the first Nigerian Certificated Umpire of the Badminton Confederation of Africa (BCA).
Solaja becomes the second recipient of the award, following that of Gretha Prinsloo of South Africa who received the 2018 award last year during the BCA Annual General Meeting in Nanning China.
The honour will be bestowed on her at the BCA Annual General Meeting 2020 at a date to be fixed later due to the current COVID-19 global pandemic.
Oby Solaja, a seven-time African women’s champion and 10-time Nigeria national champion in her playing days is one of the pioneers of badminton at the Olympics.
According to the Sports Minister, Dare “I wish to register my profound congratulations to one of Nigeria’s pioneer International Badminton players Mrs. Oby Solaja for her recognition as the winner of the prestigious BCA award. This honour is not only well deserved, but symbolic. Coming at a time when Nigeria has shown commitment to the development of Badminton makes it special.
“This award is not just for you, but one that has made every Nigerian proud. This is reward of your commitment, hard work and dedication as a pioneer badminton player, coach and administrator.
“Indeed, it an honour well deserved. I urge you not to relent in using your pole position in the game to further develop the sport in our country. This is also a recognition of the sterling leadership of the President of the Badminton President Francis Orbir who has displayed astute leadership.” Dare enthused.
According to the award letter signed jointly by President and Chairperson of BCA Michel Bau and Meneoang Leshotha respectively, Solaja’s choice was hinged on her enormous contributions to the success of the 2019 All Africa Senior Badminton Championship held in Port Harcourt, her long term achievements in Nigeria and Africa.
She won three gold medals in the Africa Senior Championship in 1996, Women Singles , Women Doubles and Mixed Doubles.
Solaja is a seven-time African Women Champion, 10-time Nigerian Champion and a pioneer player at the Olympics.