How tanker accident almost marred 6th Lagos International Badminton Classics finals

An unusual event almost marred the final of 6th Lagos International Badminton Classics at the Molade Okoya Thomas Hall of Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, on Saturday.

A tanker ladden with gas was involved in an accident at the foot of the Stadium Bridge.

The tanker driver ran into the barrier placed at the foot of the bridge, which led to leakage of gas from the tanker. Emergency workers had to cordon off the area to offload the tanker.

Two USA players who were scheduled to play against their Indian counterparts in the Women’s Singles final were caught in the gridlock caused by the incident.

In the ensuing drama, the finals of the Women’s Double and Single between Lauren Lam and Paula Lynn Cao against the Indians; Sirran Singhi and Ritika Thaker, was declared a walkover after 10 minutes.

The President of Badminton Federation of Nigeria (BFN), Francis Orbih, had pleaded with the officials to suspend the match to allow the USA duo arrive the venue.

The Indians, however, rejected the overtures insisting on following the rules of the game which stipulates a walkover after 10 minutes lateness.

Meanwhile, in the men’s single, Jonathan Matias defeated Pablo Abian of Spain in a tightly contested match, while Fabio Caponio of Italy and Dmtny Panarin of Kazakhstan were joint third.

For the Women’s Single, Ines Lucia Castilo-Salazar of Peru defeated Lauren Lam of USA for the title, while Rachel Darragh of Ireland and Juliana Vaiana Viera of Brazil were joint third.

Speaking on the unfortunate incident, Orbih said the federation would take the matter up with the world body.

“The Women’s Double is supposed to be the second match, but everyone knows what happened today on the bridge where there was an accident as a gas tank was leaking and the road had to be cordoned off.

“Most of our guests were also caught up in the traffic that lasted about three hours and the pair of the USA team due to play in the Women’s Double was also caught up in the gridlock.

“By the time they got here, they had missed the time as the rule says after 10 minutes, there should be a walkover. We approached the referee and told him that the situation was a force majeure, which is no one’s fault.

“We asked for the match to be rescheduled to allow the girls play, but the Indian team insisted that there must be a walkover,” he said.

Orbih added: “There were lots of politics in the game to the extent that we had to call the World Body for clarification, but there were two different responses.

“At the end of the day, the Indian team refused to play, which also affected the Women’s Single as one of the ladies (Lam), caught up in the traffic, who was supposed to play in the finals was automatically disqualified for not playing the Doubles.

“Anyways, we need to put that behind us as the Men’s Single final was a spectable to behold; the match got guests their cheering the finalists.

“This tournament will go down in history for its great records and achievements, while we take up the other issues with the African and World Body,” he said. (NAN)