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Olympics berths up for grabs at Uganda badminton open

Thirty five Ugandan badminton players have been joined by 64 foreign players in this year’s Uganda Badminton Open, that kicked off yesterday at the Lugogo indoor arena. The championship goes on until Sunday with qualification to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro at stake.

However, only Uganda’s number one seed and Africa’s number two seed, yet the world’s seed 76, Edwin Ekiring, has a chance of making it to Brazil. According to Simon Mugabi, the vice-president of the Badminton Confederation of Africa region IV, Ekiring just has to make sure that he maintains his position amongst the top 100 players in the world and he will have qualified for the Olympics.

To be certain of that, Mugabi added, Ekiring just has to make sure he does not lose more than one game at this tournament, and he will be safe. Yet, if Ekiring wins three games this time round, he will become Africa’s number one badminton seed.

The Holland-based Ekiring represented Uganda at the Beijing and London Olympics, and he sounded fired up to go the distance. He told The Observer that there would be no sloppiness on his part at this championship. He added, “I can assure you that by end of the tournament, I will be number one again”.

Meanwhile, Uganda’s top female seed, Shamim Bangi, fresh from winning gold at the Rosehill Cup in Malaysia, has no chance of qualifying for the Olympics. She is ranked number 201 (6,636 points) in the world and she will mainly be aiming at increasing her world ranking.

To achieve that, she must first overcome the challenge of world number 202, Zambia’s Siamupangila Ogar today. That said, America’s Howard Shu ranked 65 on the world chart and China’s Hsu Jui Tang will not be making the tournament after suffering injury setbacks.

This has given Uganda’s Ian Senoga and Zambia’s Kalombo Mulenga a shot at an international tournament.

feupal@observer.ug

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