• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Anu Opeyori: Badminton player on the path to greatness

Anu Opeyori: Badminton player on the path to greatness

Anuoluwapo Juwon Opeyori is not just a name – it is now synonymous with excellence in Nigerian and African badminton space. As Nigeria’s undisputed champion and Africa’s number one player, Opeyori is soaring to new heights, after securing his spot at the prestigious Paris 2024 Olympics.

This marks a historic moment, making him the first Nigerian badminton player to qualify for two consecutive Olympic Games.

It is particularly inspiring if one considers the various qualification matches he had to participate in to garner enough points for Olympic qualification, as there was a time he was 5,000 points behind during the build-up to qualifying.
Opeyori’s journey to badminton stardom did not come on a platter. He strived for it as he started with Funsho Opeyori, his brother and coach. His raw talent and unwavering determination to succeed in the face of adversity appears to be the difference maker.

Through relentless training and a burning ambition to represent his nation, he rose through the ranks of African badminton, dominating tournaments with his aggressive style and powerful smashes.

Beyond his impressive trophy cabinet, he stands as an inspiration for aspiring athletes across Africa. His dedication to the sport and unwavering commitment to excellence are a testament to his will power and mental strength.

“He is very competitive! He cries after losing a match and even though I am the coach who is also displeased about the result, I have to be the one to comfort him to take it easy,’ Funsho, his coach said while reminiscing on the previous struggles.

Opeyori’s journey demonstrates that success is attainable, regardless of background or origin and winning is what truly gives him joy.

With his sights set on the Paris Olympics, he is intensifying his training regime, honing his skills, and refining his strategy.

He appears more confident going to Paris, as he believes that by integrating running and strength training practiced locally, with skills and techniques done abroad, he is set to be the first African to ever win a Badminton match at the Olympics.
While the Badminton Federation of Nigeria (BFN) is committed to providing him with the necessary support and resources to ensure peak performance on the Olympic stage, patrons of the Badminton Section at Ikoyi Club, where he trains alongside his brother and coach, have taken it upon themselves to make sure Opeyori has as much support as possible to ensure a successful tournament.

Though he sees the push, he is confident in writing his name in the Badminton folklore as he believes that in desiring to be a champion, one has to be constantly in the heat, by being familiar with the rigours involved.

He asserted enthusiastically when asked, “I do not feel any pressure because I understand that the reward for hard work is more work, and I am fully aware that most of the opponents I’ll face are continental champions with different skill sets.”

He affirms that he recognises the level of competition he would be up against, and he’s prepared for the challenge.

‘’I believe that competing against such skilled opponents is a chance for me to learn and grow as an athlete, I’m deeply motivated and committed to training rigorously to achieve this dream. I want to be the best i can be in Badminton and make Nigerians proud’’.

Opeyori’s story is far from over, it is only just beginning. As he prepares to compete against the world’s best badminton players in Paris, one thing is certain; he will carry the hopes and dreams of a nation on his shoulders.

With his talent, dedication, and unwavering spirit, Opeyori has the potential to not only make Nigeria proud but also inspire a new generation of badminton enthusiasts across Africa.