By Ikenna Nwokedi
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Prof. Joseph Ikechebelu has doled out over half a million naira in prize monies and logistics for the just concluded second edition of the Prof. J.I. Ikechebelu Badminton Open.
The Badminton Open which is an initiative of Prof. Samuel Meludu, Chairman of the College Sports Committee, College of Health Sciences Okofia, UNIZIK, is an annual sporting programme bankrolled by the UNIZIK DVC (Admin.) which held from Saturday, 11th to Saturday, 18th November 2023 at the Meludu Badminton Court, Okofia.
The Badminton Open event which featured male and female singles for both staff and students of UNIZIK had over 50 Badminton players featuring in the week long event.
Chidera Meludu came tops with 26 points from 13 matches in the male category for students smiling home with the sum of N20,000 while Moses Okpara and Henry Jonathan both settled for second and third place with N15,000 and N10,000 respectively.
In the female category for students, Jessica Nnakaife came tops winning 8 matches and amassing 16 points with N20,000 prize money for her exploits while Emmanuella Okoye and Nkiru Anyigbo came second and third with N15,000 and N10,000 in prize monies respectively in prize monies.
For the staff members, Azubike Epundu was full of joy as he smiled home with the sum of N20,000 having secured 10 points from 5 matches to emerge as the Champion, his closest rival Anthony Okorie won 4 matches and lost one going home with the sum of N15,000 while Dr. Charles Dike settled for third position and cash prize of N10,000.
Reacting, the initiator of the competition, Prof. Samuel Meludu informed that the Badminton Open event which kickstarted in 2021 is being played at the Badminton Court he built and endowed for the institution towards the promotion of the game of Badminton and Sports in general. The scholar posited that Prof. Ikechebelu’s love for the game endeared him towards the sponsorship of the sporting program while also revealing that this year’s edition was played in a league format to determine the winner.
“We are delighted that we had a good show at the just concluded second edition of the Badminton Open bankrolled by our Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Administration), Prof. Joseph Ikechebelu who we had earlier approached to sponsor the event and he accepted to do so owing to his love for the game and the need to enhance and promote sports development in Nnamdi Azikiwe University.
“The Badminton Open is played on the Court which I built and donated to the institution. This year’s edition was played in a league format to determine the winner and the turn out by participants was impressive. We anticipate that the subsequent editions will be better,” Prof. Meludu stated.
The scholar called on other well meaning individuals and sports lovers in the state to be part of the initiative by sponsoring other sporting events to aid students’ social welfare and sports promotion.
On his part, the sponsor, Prof. Joseph Ikechebelu affirmed that the annual Prof. J.I. Ikechebelu Badminton Open has come to stay and will be an annual programme of the CHS Okofia which will be extended to other campuses of the institution in other sporting areas. The UNIZIK DVC Admin. emphasized that Sports Development is one of the pillars of the ‘Project200’ vision of the present administration under the leadership of Prof. Charles Esimone as the Vice-Chancellor. He congratulated the various winners and urged them to keep the flag flying.
Highpoints of the closing ceremony was presentation of Prize monies to the winners by the benefactor who was represented by the Secretary to the office of the DVC (Admin.) and Principal Assistant Registrar, Mr. Emmanuel Nnaemeka.