As the 2018 Mutual Benefits National Open Badminton Championship hots up, one of the players, Aliyu Alhaji Shehu has promised his fans, a shot at the title.
Smarting from his resounding 2-set victory over Johnson from Enugu state yesterday, Shehu said his immediate plan was how to beat all comers and get to the final.
“My target is to play in the final and win the title,” he said, adding that he was in good shape to achieve his goal.
The dark-skinned player said his last outing at the championship, sponsored by Mutual Benefits Insurance saw him crash out in the third round. “But now, I am ready for any one who comes across my path as my target remains the title.”
He said he is ranked number one in North Central Zone after winning the zone’s singles and doubles titles in May this year.
“I am carrying that form to this tournament,” he said repeatedly.
Shehu is not underrating other players in the main chart as he believes his ambition could be cut short by one man, number two ranked Godwin Olufuwa.
“If there is anyone I feel can give me a good fight he is Godwin Olufuwa, from Lagos State. He is ranked second and in the line of my chart. There is every chance of us meeting along the way should both of us progress. But I am not scared of him,” Shehu who is from Niger State said, adding,
“I look forward to meeting the number one ranked player in the final.
In other preliminary matches played Monday and yesterday, Hafix Ibrahim defeated Imrana Sada while Emmanuel Deborah lost to Sadik Jafar. Mohammed Jallaba defeated Musa Otori, Abdulmalik Ibrahim defeated Abdullahi Mohammed.
Tournament director Olumide Bamiduro said, “the real battle begins Thursday in the round of 64. It is time when the men will be separated from the boys.”
He expressed happiness over the number of participants from across the country, while maintaining that the standard has been high. “It’s a national open championship and this is reflected in the large turnout of participants.
“Despite that, the standard has been high and it will even get tougher from today as the main draws begin. It has been good so far,” the tournament director said.