23 Dec 2019

A clean sweep of titles, Nigeria dominated proceedings at the inaugural 2019 Valuejet Para Open staged in the Molade Okoya-Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos from Thursday 19th to Saturday 21st December.

Gold medallists at African Para Championships were very much to the fore as were names who had enjoyed Paralympic Games success.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

Tajudeen Agunbiade was very much the name to note as experienced told.

Winner in 1999 in Johannesburg at the Africa and Middle East Para Championships, as well as later in 2007 in Cairo and 2019 in Alexandria at the African Para Championships; the crowning glory for Tajudeen Agunbiade was at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. In class 9 he won the men’s singles title as well as partnering Adisa Tunde and Alabi Olufemi to men’s team success.

Now a decade later in Lagos, again in class 9, it was more gold. He beat colleague Francis Chukwuemeka (11-4, 12-10, 11-8) to secure the title, notably at the semi-final stage Francis Chukwuemeka had ended the hopes of Adisa Tunde.

Bronze for Adisa Tunde but for the one further member of the Sydney gold medal winning team, the top prize was secured. Anointed African champion in 2011 in Ismailia and earlier this year in Alexandria, Alabi Olufemi secured the class 10 title. He accounted for Algeria’s Bounedouha Karim in the only final of the tournament that was not contested by Nigerians  (11-8, 11-2, 9-11, 11-9).

More gold for African champions

Success for reigning African champions; in the men’s singles events it was the same for Ahmed Koleosho and Victor Farniloye. Competing in class 2-3, Ahmed Koleosho secured the title at the expense of Olanrewaju Aminu (11-7, 11-6, 11-5); similarly at the final hurdle Victor Farniloye accounted Suraju Babatunde (11-8, 11-8, 11-9).

Both Ahmed Koleosho and Victor Farniloye are players with a history of success; in addition Ahmed Koleosho was also anointed African champion in 2015 in Agadir, Victor Farniloye in 2011 in Ismailia.

A similar situation applies to Nasiru Sule, he won the open wheelchair class in 1999 at the Africa and Middle East Championships; in 2007 in Cairo and in 2013 in Sharm El-Sheikh he struck gold at the African Para Championships. At the Valuejet Para Open, he beat Akingbemisilu Bolawa in the closest final of the tournament, to secure the class 5 top prize (12-10, 11-8, 11-13, 11-13, 11-7).

Adding to continental success, it was the same in the women’s singles events; gold medallist at the African Para Championships in 2007, 2011 and 2015, Chineye Obiora secured the class 5 title. At the final hurdle she beat colleague Christiana Ikpeoyi (11-7, 11-9, 11-9).

Striving for success

Titles for celebrated names; there were also titles for those striving to be celebrated names.

In the men’s singles, Isau Ogunkunle beat Emmanuel Chinedu (11-5, 11-6, 11-9) to claim the top prize in class 4; similarly in the women’s singles, there was success for Blessing Aiwekoe, Beauty Osarieme, Soremekun Atinuke and Kafayat Olaitan alongside Faith Obazuaye.

Blessing Aiwekhoe emerged the class 3 winner, accounting for Anne Alpunonu in the final (11-13, 11-8, 11-2, 11-3); likewise, in class 4, Beauty Osarieme beat Endurance Oboru (11-7, 11-9, 11-7), in class 7-8, Soremekun Atinuke defeated Maryam Ezeaputa (11-4, 11-2, 11-4).

Not to be overshadowed, in the title decider in class 9, Kafayay Olaitan overcame Mariam Popoola (11-4, 11-0, 11-13. 11-8); in class 10 Faith Obazuaye ended the hopes of Femitope Idris (11-3, 11-9, 11-3).

Results – Individual Events

2019 Valuejet Para Open: Results – Men’s Singles Class 2-3

2019 Valuejet Para Open: Results – Men’s Singles Class 4

2019 Valuejet Para Open: Results – Men’s Singles Class 5

2019 Valuejet Para Open: Results – Men’s Singles Class 8

2019 Valuejet Para Open: Results – Men’s Singles Class 9

2019 Valuejet Para Open: Results – Men’s Singles Class 10

2019 Valuejet Para Open: Results – Women’s Singles Class 3

2019 Valuejet Para Open: Results – Women’s Singles Class 4

2019 Valuejet Para Open: Results – Women’s Singles Class 5

2019 Valuejet Para Open: Results – Women’s Singles Class 7-8

2019 Valuejet Para Open: Results – Women’s Singles Class 9

2019 Valuejet Para Open: Results – Women’s Singles Class 10

 

 

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