Multiple national champions Victor Odera and Ugandan Brenda Awuor won champions of Rift Valley Badminton Open Championships singles as top seed players dominated the event held in Eldoret’s Gulab Lochab Hall over the weekend.
Recovering from An eleven month knee injury, Odera won his maiden title in the 5th meeting of Kenya Badminton championships against Sammy Sikoyo.
Sikoyo, who was the favourite in the final match following his best performance in other meetings across the country, lost control after leading in three breaks.
But experienced Kisumu based Odera maintained his playing skills to win the tournament 2-1 (21-19, 19-21 and 21-17.
Odera won the first set 21-19 after rallying from behind from 11-08 at the break but levelled with Sikoyo at 18 point to go ahead to lift the set.
Left handed Sikoyo claimed the second set with 21-19 before Odera made sure he takes the title with 21-17 despite training 3-11 at the break
At the semi final level, Sikoyo beat Patrick Kinyua 2-0 (21-19,21-14) while Odera who came back from an injury eliminated John Wanyoike 2-0 (21-18,23-21).
Delighted by the victory, Odera acknowledged his opponent saying the game was very competitive.
“I am on the right track after spending five months nursing a knee injury. I have recovered well and I am hoping for the best as Kenya prepares for the Commonwealth Games next year,” he said.
Ugandan Awuor registered 100% wins in the tournament, enjoying Kenyan soil better than her hosts by taking the women’s title.
By making her presence felt in the her neighbouring country, Awuor beat Loice Andia of Kenya i two straight sets of 21-14 and 21 14.
Ugandan Awuor eliminated Theerta Vannemreddy 2-0 (21-12,21-12) while Andia saw off Agnes Joris who retired in the first set 21-18 after picking an injury.
In men’s double, the pair of Sikoyo and Edwin Akwanyi beat Amos Chirchir/Patrick Kinywa pair 2-1 (20-22,21-19 and 21-19) tolift the title.
In semi finals, Akwanyi/Sikoyo team ran over Kenya seed one John Wanyoike/Edwin Waitatu 2-0 (22-20, 21-18) while Chirchir/Kinywa shone over Abuor Barungo/Nixon Kipkoech team 2-0 (21-19 and 21-11.
Pair of Awuor/Krisha Ghia lifted the title after beating Agnes Andia/Naomi Kemunto team in a stretched 2-1 (21-13, 12-21 and 21-15.
At the semis, Awuor/Ghia beat Andia, Annenmeddy 2-0 (21-14, 21-14) while Agnes/Naomi Kemunto ran over Jecinta Segera/Faith Njeri 2-0 (21-14 and 21-13).
According to the chairman Badminton Kenya Peter Muchiri, the federation if focused on fielbding eight players for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast in Australia.
“Such tournaments are crucial for build up since we are targeting to select a formidable team for the Commonwealth Games. We shall have other tournaments and the final one for 16 players will be played on a round robin to get the final 8 players,” Muchiri said.