THE badminton thrills return this afternoon with over 80 players expected to lock horns in the Chinese Ambassador’s Tournament billed for the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) in Lusaka.
Chinese Ambassador to Zambia, Zhou Yuxiao, whose Embassy have been the sole sponsors of the tournament since it was inaugurated, will also bid farewell to the badminton fraternity in the country as he retires from diplomatic mission.
This two-day tournament will also see past Badminton Zambia (BZ) officials conferred with the status of life members for their outstanding performances in the development of the sport in Zambia.
On the courts, the tournament will welcome back home ‘golden girl’ Olgar Siamupangila, who won gold and bronze medals at the just-ended Kenya International in Nairobi.
Buoyed by her successful outing in Kenya, Siamupangila, who is currently top female seed in Zambia, is in line to dominate the women categories but she faces stiff competition from budding stars in her younger sister Evelyn, Delphine Nakanyika and Mary Chilambe among others.
“Coming back from the Kenya International, I am still in a competitive mood to rise to the occasion and my target is to win the top prize,” Siamupangila said.
National team coach, Juma Muwowo will be using this tournament as part of preparations for the duo of Chongo Mulenga and Ngosa Chongo, who with Netherlands based Eli Mambwe will be representing Zambia at Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland next month.
Having minted gold in Kenya in the mixed doubles alongside Siamupangila, Donald Mabo will be eyeing glory on home soil to wrap up a successful month for him.
Players like Kunda Mulenga and Mark Banda are also in line to wreck havoc in the men’s categories.
BZ general secretary Kingsley Mulenga said in an interview that all was set for today’s tournament.
“We will have a ceremony at the end of the tournament where we will be recognising the contributions of our past executive members to the development of badminton in Zambia. We will therefore confer them with life memberships,” he said.
Geoffrey Chawinga, former Sports Minister George Chulumanda, Simon Mwila and Nangalingam Sothylingam are some of the past badminton officials to conferred with life memberships.
Times of Zambia