By SAMUEL LUKHANDA –
OLGA Siamupangila salvaged some pride for Zambia when she won gold in the women’s doubles at the Botswana Badminton International.
Siamupangila teamed up with Nigerian Grace Gabriel to beat the Zambian pair of Ngandwe Miyambo and Elizabeth Chipeleme who had to settle for silver after losing to the highly rated pair.
Gabriel is ranked number one in Africa while Siamupangila is sixth and the duo formed a deadly combination to see off the challengers who included Miyambo and Chipeleme in straight sets 21-11, 21-17.
There was another medal in the mixed doubles for Zambia as Siamupangila later teamed up with experienced Juma Muwowo to reap silver.
Muwowo, who is also national coach, and Siamupangila lost 22-20, 21- 14 to a familiar foe in Egyptian pair of Abdelrahman Kashkal and Hadia Hosny, who also beat them during the Zambia international Open held last month at the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) in Lusaka.
It was not a happy outing for the Zambian men who fell off in the early stages of the tournament while the ladies singles saw Mary Chilambe lose to highly-rated Gabriel in the pre-quarter finals.
Gabriel went ahead to inflict the same punishment on Siamupangila in the quarter finals but it was not to be her title as she was beaten in both the semis and third place playoffs to finish fourth.
Laura Sarosi beat the Zambia International champion Kate Foo Kune in straight sets 21-10, 21-14 to win the ladies singles while in the men’s singles tournament top seed Howard Shu saw off Rosario Maddaloni in straight sets.
The Botswana International tournament is also part of the Southern African circuit of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games qualifiers that sees players from around the world compete in order to garner points to enable them qualify.