Badminton Star set to retire.
Updated: Dec 14, 2020
“I don’t want to retire without someone beating me, meaning I am not giving the best to the country. They need to challenge me, I don’t want to retire just because I am tired, I need to leave space when I have been challenged.”
These were the exact words of veteran Badminton athlete Ogar Siamupangila who after an illustrious, although not so locally acclaimed career, plans to retire from Badminton.
At 32, she has been playing the sport for 17 years and has represented the country at a number of competitions including the World Championships and the Commonwealth Games.
The Kitwe born player who is also an officer with Zambia Police has had quite an experience in the period she has been active in the sport since she started playing from her home township in Ndeke area.
In 2007, while partnering with Eli Mambwe, she won perhaps what she regards as one of her biggest achievements in her career – A bronze medal at the All Africa Games after beating the Nigerian duo of Greg Okuonghae and Grace Daniel in the mixed doubles.
That was in Algeria, in July. Two months earlier in the same year, she had achieved a similar feat also while partnering with Eli Mambwe, beating South Africa’s Chris Dednam and Michelle Edwards in Mauritius.
In fact, that was her watershed period. Between 2006 and 2007 she had won, the Kenya international once under the singles category and in the women’s doubles with fellow Zambian Delphine Nakanyika.
Actually, she played four finals of the Kenya international meet in that period, losing the singles to America’s Shannon Pohl and the double to Uganda’s Abraham Wogute and Rita Namusisi.
By the end of the 2006/7 period, she was the best-ranked female player in Africa.
Other than just her commendable exploits at the Kenya international, Siamupangila has also been champion in Botswana, Kenya as well as at the Zambia international badminton competitions with several runners up achievements.
This is also in addition to the fact that she has represented Zambia at three Commonwealth Games events, in 2006, 2010, and the recent one in Australia two years ago.
Last year, she reached the quarterfinal of the All Africa games and was also nominated for sportswoman of the year by the National Sports Council of Zambia (NSCZ) alongside swimmer Tilka Paljk and Chess sensation Lorita Mwango.
“That was very good, looking at the performance in all tournaments I was outstanding, though I did not win (the award),” she says.
However, after a long career, one’s body, especially that of an athlete may never be as competitive, and time comes to succumb and leave the arena – that time may be around the corner for the veteran racket swinger.
“It depends on how I feel with my body, if I feel strong I can still give it two or three years to participate but it will also depend on what happens on the court, sometimes injuries happen, although I don’t pray to retire because of injuries,” she says in reference to walking away from the sport.
However, she does not just want to go away without being challenged by the upcoming athletes who she feels have a lot of work to do to catch up with her.
“It’s not just about giving them space when they have not worked for it. Right now it’s difficult to tell whether there is someone coming up because I have not seen anyone challenging me.” She says.
“I give a challenge to the young ones because I am still there. In Badminton I am a senior, even in Africa; all my friends have retired and are coaches.”
However, although her career has been filled with achievements, she does have regrets too. Despite her rich career, she has never been to the Olympic Games and hopes that she can get there next year despite the slim chance she has.
“My aim was to be at the Olympics, and I am still fighting, if I can be there I can be very happy, even just once, it will be a very good thing for me. I’ve been at the commonwealth games three times.”
With the qualifiers for the Olympics having been set according to rankings, Siamupangila has an outside chance of being at the Tokyo games but that will be dependent on her improving her ranking globally.
She is currently ranked number 237 in the world, 10th in Africa, and according to the Badminton World Federation (BWF) on the top 16 globally ranked players get automatic places.
Siamupangila will need other tournaments to help her improve her rankings, but with Coronavirus so far having derailed events, it may be a matter of hope for a miracle to happen for her to be in Tokyo next year.
“If all goes well, every tournament that is going to be there and funds are provided, I can have a slim chance to qualify.
“It all depends on the funding. I need to finish top three in Africa.
“If the competitions are there I can make sure, my ranking is not bad in Africa, I can still go through, I need to accumulate points,” she says.