Having tutored 30-odd players at a training camp over the weekend, Guillaume Gailly continued the process with one of them today, partnering Emmanuel Pinochet Amougui to victory in two of their three matches at the Uganda Para-Badminton International 2018.
The experienced Frenchman led by example as he and Amougui cruised past two Ugandan pairs as the tournament’s group stage concluded at the MTN Arena in Lugogo, Kampala. However, the duo had to shake off an early loss to India’s Kumar Nitesh and Indrajit Pal (21-9 21-10) before recovering to beat Hassan Kamoga/Julius Masereka and later Bashir Mutyaba/Abdu Walukagga, thus reaching the Men’s Doubles SL 3 – SL 4 quarter-finals.
It was a great day for the spirited Amougui who also progressed to the last eight in Men’s Singles SL 3, ousting Moses K. Mayazi of Uganda (21-13 22-20).
“This is new for me and I am learning more and more in every match. I enjoyed doubles today with Guillaume and I am happy to win in singles as well,” said the Cameroonian, competing in his first tournament.
Gailly also has a full plate as he is into the Men’s Singles SL 4 quarter-finals and will play in Mixed Doubles SL 3 – SU 5 with Scotland’s Mary Margaret Wilson.
“Amougui is improving with every match as are some of the others who were on the training course and who only started badminton a few months ago. This competition is helping them to get a feel of what a badminton tournament is like, with umpires, line judges etc. and, with more practice, these players will get better,” said 44-year-old Gailly, commending the fearless approach of the African newcomers.
“They have been courageous and enthusiastic as beginners taking on para-badminton stars from India and Malaysia. They don’t mind the difference in level or worry about losing. They are enjoying themselves, the experience and the friendly atmosphere.”
Another player soaking in the vibe was Rose Nansereko who rebounded from losing all her singles matches yesterday to notch two Women’s Doubles successes today, with her Ugandan compatriot, Khadija Khamuka. Competing in SL 3 – SU 5, they defeated Gift Ijeoma Chukwuemeka/Chinyere Lucky Okoro of Nigeria (21-19 21-10) then Cameroon’s Cristance Moffouo/Jacqueline Carole Ntsama (21-11 21-13).
“This is my second time playing Women’s Doubles and the training here has helped me. That first game against the Nigerians was very close but I wasn’t nervous. I enjoyed the cheering from fans,” said 35-year-old Nansereko.
Meanwhile, a number of top players including Cheah Liek Hou/Hairol Fozi Saaba stamped their authority on the proceedings with easy wins. The accomplished Malaysians breezed past Egyptian duo, Zakareia Ayoub/Mohamed Ismai, in Men’s Doubles SU 5, before resisting the challenge of India’s Sugil Abbas who teamed up with Geraldo Da Silva Oliveira of Brazil (21-12 21-17).
“It’s our first time in Uganda and we have won our matches quite easily. We feel confident and hope we can win this tournament,” said 30-year-old Cheah.
The day’s play also featured some exhibition matches in SS 6 with players from Cameroon, Egypt and Kenya battling energetically. Jeremia Maringa Ngungi was among those in this sport class and, after just about three weeks of badminton, the 26-year-old conceded he is smitten by the sport.
“It has been great. I love playing badminton. I knew about the sport but I had never tried it before. Now, I want to be a champion,” declared the ambitious Kenyan.
The proceedings at MTN Arena will get more serious tomorrow with the quarter-finals taking place in 19 events. The Uganda Para-Badminton International 2018 follows on the heels of the three-day African Para-Badminton Legacy Project which sought to develop and promote the sport among players, coaches and administrators.
FEATURED IMAGE: Sanjeev Kumar of India in action, partnered by France’s Richard Perot (background) in Men’s Doubles WH 1 – WH 2.