Nigeria junior badminton player, Daniel Christopher has described his scholarship to Beijing Sports University as “a dream come true”.
Christopher and Katsina based player Khalil Shamsuddeen are beneficiaries of the MOU signed between the Badminton Federation of Nigeria and China last year.
President of the Badminton Federation of Nigeria, Francis Orbih had revealed details of the partnership deal to ACLSports.com which includes: scholarship for two players, newly built gymnasium, technical adviser and equipment etc.
Speaking to ACLSports.com, Christopher said he was notified about the scholarship during the African Youth Games in Algiers last year.
“When we were in Algiers, I got a text that I have gotten a scholarship to study abroad and I was very happy. The criteria used was performance at recent tournament and school. It was like a motivation for me because I have been hoping to study abroad so having the scholarship was like a dream come through,” said Christopher.
“I started playing badminton in 2013 when I was in JSS1. All I wanted to do is to do my homework and play for fun didn’t think of playing internationally or professionally.”
He added, “The admission is in March or September and the process is ongoing hopefully by next month I’ll be travelling to China but if I can’t go then it will be in September. I’ll be studying Computer Science and playing Badminton hopefully I can do my masters later.”
The 17 year old pointed lack of sponsorship as the challenge affecting Badminton in Nigeria and called for corporate sponsorship for the sport.
“Major challenge in Badminton in Nigeria is that the sport is not popular in Nigeria so most times we find it difficult to solicit for sponsors for tournaments. I think with the current board they are actually doing a good job to bring Badminton to the spotlight so I think the corporate bodies should come in and support Badminton so that we young players can go for more international tournaments and gain more exposure to put Nigeria on top.
Christopher won a Gold, Silver and Bronze medal at the All African Youth Games in Algiers last year in July and followed it up with two Gold and one Silver medal at the African School Badminton Championship in Ghana five months later.