Badminton Life

Ugandans Relieved After 'Missing' Ekiring Surfaces

Ugandan badminton officials breathed a sigh of relief after their leading player Edwin Ekiring made contact on Sunday.

Ekiring will be the first Ugandan to represent his country at an Olympic badminton event when he lines up in Beijing for the men's singles competition.

However, officials were fretting over the weekend after the player failed to get in touch with them, having left his training centre in Germany and stopped over in the Netherlands.

They wanted to confirm his arrival date in Beijing in order to complete the accreditation procedures, but failed to contact him despite desperate phone calls from badminton and Uganda team officials.

Ekiring finally turned up on Sunday, telling his team that he is fine and that he will be arriving in Beijing without any problems.

According to, Ekiring sent an email to his coach Simon Mugabi telling him that he expects to arrive in Beijing on Tuesday.

"Ekiring called me and said that he had stayed longer in Holland to finalise negotiations with his future employers as a badminton player," said Mugabi.

At 105 in the world, Ekiring is the highest-ranked African in the men's singles main draw.

He faces a difficult hurdle in his opening match against either Canada's 35th-ranked Andrew Dabeka or South Korea's Asian champion Park Sung Hwang, who is ranked 11th in the world and is favourite to prevail.

If Ekiring can defy all odds and make it through to the final 16, lying in wait is most probably the top seed and world champion from China, Lin Dan.

Ekiring has been spending the pre-Olympic period preparing at Germany's High Performance Training Centre, where he has been training with some of Europe's leading players.

He was in the Netherlands to negotiate a contract with a local club for next season.

Ekiring is one of three Africans in the men's singles competition, the others being Algeria's Nabil Lasmari and Zambian Elly Mambwe.

They were given wild card slots on the request of the Olympic Solidarity movement, prompting Ekiring to move to Germany in order to intensify his training ahead of the Beijing tournament.

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