LAGOS – No fewer than 170 players have enlisted for the 2015 CBN Junior Tennis Championship scheduled to run from April 20 to April 25 at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club.
Godwin Kienka, the Director of the International Tennis Academy (ITA) told a news conference on Friday in Lagos that many national players had benefited from the event, through award of scholarships.
“We have players in the junior circuit in the U.S., Netherlands, and South Africa,” he said.
Kienka urged the newly discovered players to imbibe resilience as a way of life because it would help them.
The representative of the president of the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF), Duro Ikhazuagbe said the event would feature boys and girls in the U-10, U-12, U-14 and U- 16 categories.
He said that Nigeria was now ranked 7th in Africa.
“It is events like this that have continued to boost the game; the recent international ranking that saw the country improve in ranking — 7th, is commendable,” Ikhazuagbe said.
According to him, the CBN Senior Championship that players look forward to with nostalgia is an off-shoot of the junior category.
He commended the organisers for a job well done and added that some of the players would now be in a position to take on their South African and Egyptian counterparts unlike in the past.
Isaac Okoroafor, CBN Director of Corporate Affairs, said that the 2015 event would be spectacular as participants would be made to play more games to prove their worth.
“As a corporate organisation, CBN is glad to see that many of our young players are keying into the competition.
“Our aim of sponsoring the event is being realised as so many budding talents are being discovered through the event.
“We wish to re-enact the good-old-days when we had the likes of Nduka Odizor and Tony Mno, etc,” Okoroafor said.
Kehinde Ajayi, a tennis legend, said the game had gained momentum in recent times in the country with lots of courts and competitions for players to hone their skills.
“Unlike our days when we rarely had standard turfs to play, the present players should take advantage of all available platforms to improve on their skills and exposure,” he said.
He said that some arenas like Molade-Okoya Thomas Tennis and the Lagos State tennis courts at the Mobolaji Johnson Sports Centre, Yaba were available for players to use for free.
He urged parents looking for places for their children to train to make use of such arenas and improve the lot of their wards.
NAN reports that CBN future Team stars, represented by Martin Abamu and Nigeria female sensation Mary-love Edward, were presented to the public as upcoming talents.
Mary-love, who pledged to defeat any opponent that came her way in the 14 and 16 class, said that her strokes were now better.
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