Uganda’s top badminton players Edwin Ekiring and Shamim Bangi have entered the 2014 Mauritius International Open which takes place June 12-15.
Simon Mugabi, the Chief Executive Officer of the Uganda Badminton Association (UBA) confirmed to URN this afternoon that Bangi and Aisha Nakiyimba traveled this morning aboard a Kenya Airways flight, while Ekiring already connected to Mauritius from his Holland base.
Mugabi said Bangi’s performance at the Nigeria International Challenge last week even though she settled for bronze after losing to Slovakia’s Martina Repiska a semi-final tie.
Bangi was the only African female player to reach the semi-finals after the likes of Eime De Villiers (South Africa), Tina Atolagbe and Diana Adesokan all from Nigeria lost in the quarters.
The official said Bangi and Ekiring are on the 2016 Road to Rio Olympics Development programme where the World Badminton body supports players around the world to help them qualify for the Olympics.
Mugabi, also a member of the African Badminton body said the tournament in Nigeria which was won by Jeanine Cicognini (Italy) for the women and Israel’s Misha Zilberman for the men had been very competitive and had helped the two Ugandan players (Bangi and Daisy Nakalyango) get more exposure.
Ekiring who was once ranked among the world top 100 players and has participated in the last two Olympic Games will hope to win some games in Mauritius so that he can accumulate points. He told URN online from Mauritius that although he expects stiff competition from players based in Europe, he is ready for the challenge.
The event will also attract players from; Nigeria, Mauritius, United States, France Canada, Botswana, South Africa, Ghana, Austria, Italy, Israel, Slovakia, Czech Republic and India.