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Para Badminton: More Tributes For Bolaji After Historic Performance In Spain

In a stunning display of class, skill, and determination, Bolaji faced off against some of the world's top-ranked players and emerged victorious in every match she played.


Mariam Bolaji

 

More tributes are pouring in for Nigeria’s para badminton player, Mariam Bolaji, who made history again after winning gold at the Spanish Para-Badminton International 2024 Level 1 tournament in Toledo, Spain.

Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has congratulated the Kwara-born Bolaji on her historic performance and also encouraged persons living with any form of disability to be motivated and believe that hard work and determination can take them to greater heights.

“These successive feats of Bolaji again underline the fact that disabilities exist only in our imagination. We are excited about the deserving successes of Bolaji whose talents, hard work, and focus have rightly earned her a choice place in the global badminton community,” the governor said.

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Show of Class

 

At the tournament in Toledo which ended on Saturday, 27th April, Bolaji showed class to defeat the World number 5 ranked player, Mandeep Kaur from India 2-0 (21-17, 21-17) to clinch the Gold medal and remain unbeaten in two Spanish Internationals in one week.

In a stunning display of class, skill, and determination, Bolaji faced off against some of the world’s top-ranked players and emerged victorious in every match she played.

In the first round, she defeated Coraline Bergeron from France in two straight sets 2-0 (21-9, 21-17). Bolaji continued her winning streak in the second round, defeating Parul Dalsukhbhai Parmer from India 2-0 (21-9, 21-7).

In the crucial third round, Mariam faced a formidable opponent, Manasi Girishchandra Jochi, the World number 4. The match was intense, with both players going for the win. In the end, Mariam emerged victorious with a 2-0 win (22-20, 21-10). With this win, Mariam secured the top spot in the group, booking her place in the semi-finals of the tournament.

In the semi-final contest, the consistent Nigerian player faced the number one-seeded player in the tournament and World number 3, Halime Yildiz from Turkey. Despite the tough competition, Mariam showed her strength and determination, defeating her opponent 2-0 (21-16, 21-8). This impressive victory earned her a spot in the much-anticipated final match.

Consistent Performer

The President of the Badminton Federation of Nigeria, Francis Orbih, has described Bolaji as a consistent performer, adding that she has proven that her feat in Victoria last week was not a fluke.

The Nigerian Para Badminton champion won the women’s singles SL3 title 2024 in Victoria, after beating the world number 10 overwhelmed world number 6 Oksana Kozyna from Ukraine 2-0 (21-13, 21-8) to clinch gold.

In the semis, she defeated world number 13 Emona Ivanova (Bulgaria) 2-0 (21-4, 21-8) to set up a clash with the 2023 silver medallist in the finals.

In round two, Bolaji overcame the number one seeded player, India’s Mandeep Kaur Mandeep, 2-0 (21-10, 21-8). She also swept aside England’s Victoria Bailey 2-0 (21-5, 21-4) in the first round of the Spanish International.

Orbih expressed delight over the latest victory of gold medallist, Mariam Eniola Bolaji. And emphasised the importance of supporting and investing in athletes like Eniola, who continue to excel and bring honour to the country on the global stage.

“She has proven herself to be a formidable competitor and a force to be reckoned with. Her dedication, hard work, and talent have earned her this well-deserved win, and we are incredibly proud of her achievements,” Orbih said.

He highlighted the need for more resources, training facilities, and opportunities for para-badminton players in Nigeria so that they can reach their full potential and compete at the highest level.

“Eniola’s victory is not only a personal triumph for her, but also a victory for Nigeria and for the sport of para-badminton. It is a testament to the talent and determination of Nigerian athletes, and a shining example of what can be achieved with hard work, perseverance, and support from the federation and the community,” Orbih concluded.

The badminton federation is confident Eniola’s fine form will continue, the ultimate belief is that she will make Nigeria proud by winning a medal at the Paralympic Games in Paris.