*Set sight on National Sports Festival
A 2019 quarterfinalist at the Research Institute Games Festival, RIGAN, Seunayo Bankole has clinched the 2021 Badminton Male Single Digital category at the just concluded games.
It will be recalled that the 17th edition of the festival which is been played in 2022 is supposed to have been played in 2021, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, it was cancelled and postponed for this year, hence, while it’s still called 2021 edition.
This year RIGAN was hosted in Abuja at the Moshod Abiola Stadium which saw a collection of young and experienced players gathered to keep fitness, test skills, discover new talents and create records.
The games lived up to expectations as Seunayo Bankole in Badminton who was making its appearance for the second time made history by defeating a three-time back to back champion, Mr Kayode Lati to clinch the Male Single Digital Category after losing his first set and pulling out in the second set due to injury.
Speaking to the Chairman of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, Kogi State chapter, Bishop Aturu, Bankole expressed joy and happiness over the new feet in his Badminton career.
According to him, he was more determined coming into this year’s festival taking strength from his first appearance in 2019.
He disclosed that “2019 edition was my first experience and I got knocked out at the quarter-finals. My performance was good enough to push me through to the next phase then, but I lacked the required experience which is very vital in this game.
” Going back home, I resolve to train harder and play more games, especially with older hands to build my experience and skills.
“I want to thank God, my family, training mates and National Institute for Freshwater Fisheries Research, NIFFR for the belief and opportunity given to me to show my skills.
“Getting to the finals and knowing who I was going to play, I had mixed feelings; excitement and fear, looking at the profile of my opponent, I had to put aside his profile of being undefeated in three editions and work on my weakness to be formidable and flawless.
“I wasn’t happy he pulled out from the second set due to injury, but I was happy that I was able to prove a point from the first set and wasn’t going to be a pushover”. He concluded.
He however stressed that he will be back on the court immediately for more training and will be willing to test his strength at the upcoming National Sports Festival if given the opportunity to represent his state.
Bankole further emphasised that the National Sports Festival is the biggest stage of sports festival in the country and would want to someday explore the opportunity to face bigger and tougher experience hands.
While wishing Mr Lati a speedy recovery, he stressed that he would also work harder to ensure he becomes a winning champion like Mr Lati and remain an undisputed and unbeatable champion for as long as his strength can carry him.