A Maldivian badminton player on Friday won a gold medal in the women’s singles event at the 2019 Indian Ocean Island Games.
Nabeeha Abdul Razzaq beat her opponent from the Seychelles in two straight sets to secure the first gold medal for the Maldives in badminton at an international tournament.
Nabeeha and her sister Nabaha also took silver in the badminton doubles event after they were edged out by players from host nation Mauritius.
The historic achievement comes after the Maldives women’s table tennis team won the country’s first gold medal in a team event last week. The girls have since become national icons, drawing plaudits and inspiring sentiments of national pride on social media.
On Wednesday, the duo of 11-year-old Fathmath Dheema Ali and 15-year-old Aishath Rafa Nazim won the final of the table tennis doubles event after beating their more experienced colleagues Fathmath Jumana Nimal and Mueena Mohamed. It was the first time that two pairs of Maldivians competed in the final game of an international competition.
All four players have since advanced to the round of 16 in the singles event. Three boys from the men’s team have also progressed to the second round in the men’s singles event.
The Maldives is competing in 14 sporting events in this year’s games with the aim of bagging 15 medals, up from nine in IOIG 2015. Teams and athletes have so far won 13 medals and are on course to achieve the target.
In the previous nine editions of IOIG, the Maldives only brought home one gold medal, which was won in 2015 by Hassan Saaid in the men’s 100-meter sprint.
The IOIG is held every four years with athletes from seven Indian Ocean island nations. It was established by the International Olympic Committee in 1977.
It was announced on Saturday that the Maldives will host the games for the first time in 2023.
Nabeeha defeated Mauritius 🇲🇺 in an exciting and enthralling contest to win the women’s singles gold at the IOIG 2019 in Badminton 🏸 Congratulations 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/uvjFlU2aNL
— Maldives Olympic Committee (@nocmaldives) July 26, 2019
This year’s #IOIG2019 games have been a resounding success for us Maldivians. Congratulations to our young badminton player Nabeeha who secured gold at the #IOIG2019. Very proud of you indeed. pic.twitter.com/1ZvBwXwtIC
— Ibrahim Mohamed Solih (@ibusolih) July 26, 2019
What a great gift on our 54th Independence Day – the first gold medal for Maldives in Badminton!
Congratulations Nabi, you have made an entire nation proud!
— Abdulla Shahid 🎈 (@abdulla_shahid) July 26, 2019
Congratulations Nabi and Naba for winning silver medal in badminton after a tough fight. So proud. You have done so great in this pressure. In Sha Allah you both will win gold in IOIG 2023 in Maldives🇲🇻🥈🏸 pic.twitter.com/A0uKHauqGn
— Ahmed Mahloof (@AhmedMahloof) July 26, 2019
Photo by Maldives Olympics Committee