Just days after Naomi Oyinloye broke a 20-year jinx to become the first Nigerian Certificated Umpire of the Badminton Confederation of Africa (BCA); another Nigerian has bagged the highest award in continental women badminton.
The BCA had bestowed on Mrs. Obiageli Solaja the 2019 African Women in Badminton Award.
She became 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 would be bestowed 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 Nigerian national champion in her playing days, is one of the pioneers of badminton at the Olympics.
Last November, when the IOC President, Thomas Bach visited Nigeria and met with the country’s Olympians in Abuja, he took time to congratulate Solaja as one of the players, when badminton first featured as a medal event at the Olympics in 1996.
According to the BCA in a letter dated 18th April 2020, conveying the award to Solaja, the award is meant “to celebrate outstanding women in Africa, who have contributed to the development of badminton in Africa by demonstrating irreproachable attitude and dedication to the sport in their respective fields.”
Michel T. Bau, President of the BCA and Meneoang Leshota, Chairperson, Women in Badminton, jointly signed the letter.