Bello Rafiu Oyebanji was a triple gold medallist at the 2018 African Para Badminton Championships  ©Getty Images

African Para badminton champion Bello Rafiu Oyebanji has been killed in a traffic collision.

The Nigerian SL4 player won three gold medals at the 2018 African Para Badminton Championships and was also a member of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Para Badminton Athletes' Commission.

Bello was hoping to qualify for Tokyo 2020, where badminton is due to make its Paralympic debut, and was due to play at the Spanish Para Badminton International in Cartagena - the last qualification tournament - next month.

Nigeria News Agency reports that Bello died while traveling home from Lagos, where he was visiting the Spanish Embassy to obtain a visa for the tournament.

Bello worked as a coach for the Kwara Badminton Association, with the state several hours north of Lagos.

The BWF, Badminton Confederation Africa and officials in Nigeria have paid tribute to Bello.

"Bello was a wonderful Para badminton player to watch and a great ambassador for our sport, said BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer. 

It is with heavy heart that we announce the sudden and tragic demise of our African Para badminton champion, Mr. Bello...

Posted by Badminton Confederation Africa on Thursday, 22 April 2021

"His untimely death comes as a deep shock to the entire badminton family and my deepest sympathies are with his family and loved ones at this very difficult time."

Para Badminton Athletes' Commission Chair Richard Perot described Bello as "a skilful SL4 player".

"But above all he was an individual dedicated to training, coaching and promoting badminton for all," added Perot.

The Badminton Confederation Africa sent its condolences and Kwara Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq said he "deeply mourns this great talent which has left its mark in the sand of time".

"Therefore, I sympathise with his immediate family, including his pregnant wife and the entire sports community in Kwara State and Nigeria as a whole," Abdulrazaq continued, per Nigeria News Agency.

"He will be sorely missed.

"I pray to Almighty God to console the family he left behind and to grant his soul eternal rest."