Tokyo 2020: Nigeria's medal hopeful dies in ghastly car accident

African number one para-badminton player, Abdulrafiu Bello, has died in a ghastly motor accident, an official has said.

Abdulrafiu Bello, Africa number one para-badminton player. [NAN]

The Kwara Director of Sports, Ibrahim Alarape, confirmed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Ilorin.

Bello, who is the coach of Kwara Badminton Association, died on Wednesday while returning from Lagos where he has gone for an interview with the Spanish embassy for the last round of the qualifications for Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

The deceased, who is the Africa representative on the board of the World Para-badminton Federation, was scheduled to travel to Spain on May 6, for the final round of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics qualifier.

Alarape said the accident occurred between Oyo town and Ogbomoso in Oyo State on Wednesday evening.

The remains of Bello was on Thursday afternoon buried at the Muslim cemetery in Irewolede area of Ilorin, the Kwara capital.

He was survived by his pregnant wife and aged mother.

NAN reports that he is prominent among those confident of achieving glory for Africa at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

The Standing Lower (SL 4) player, a triple gold medallist at the African Para-Badminton Championships in 2018, is determined to make history for Nigeria and the continent at the Paralympics.

Bello started playing badminton with able-bodied participants 17 years ago, and then decided to take up coaching.

Bello qualified for the 2020 Brazil International Para-Badminton Championship and Spanish International Para-Badminton championships, but was hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic as both countries cancelled the championships.

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