Junior Snepco Tennis Tourney, A Memorable Event | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Junior Snepco Tennis Tourney, A Memorable Event

Posted: Oct 22, 2015 at 3:30 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Participants at a recently-concluded 3rd SNEPCo Junior Tennis Championship commended the organisers of the event for a successful and well-attended competition.

The competition, sponsored by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo) had no fewer than 150 junior players from across the country in attendance. The competition was staged at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan, from Oct. 12 to Oct. 17.

The championship, which was the third in the series, was adjudged by many to have achieved most of its set goal — of talent identification as well providing a platform for nurturing future tennis stars.

It was this same competition that produced Martins Abamu, a gold medalist in men’s singles event of the last 11th African Games held in Brazzaville, Congo. Martins had won the last three editions of SNEPCo, U-18 category.

There is no doubt that talents discovered at the competition would go places, going by the brilliant performances that the reproduced during the event.

Mohammed Ubale, the National Junior coach, with the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF) said that some of the talents from that competition would represent the country in international junior championships.

“Nigeria will be hosting the Africa Junior Championship qualifier in Abuja in January and this has given me the opportunity to look out for young talents to that will adequately represent the country’’.

The coach said the winners of the tournament along with other promising players, would be camped soon to prepare for the qualifiers in January.

“We have already identified some talented players’ based on their performances at the tournament. They are expected to report to the Abuja camping site.

“This will enable me to further work on their skills ahead of the African Junior, scheduled for Tunisia in March 2016,’’ Ubale added.

Some of the players had also said that the competition helped them to boost their careers in the game. One of them, Abamu said the competition was a good initiative aimed at producing future champions.

He praised the organisers for contributing to the development of tennis. He tasked the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF) to take a cue from the organisers of the championship in area sponsorship for its programmes.

“I am happy about this tournament, this is my third time in this competition and I have won three times.

“I was discovered from the previous edition and I represented the country at the last African Games where I won gold medal in men’s singles.

“Winning in the championship for a third time has made my dreams come through,” Martins said.

He, however, called on the sponsors to strive to sustain the sponsorship of the tournament. This is private initiative-driven.

“I urge the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF) to continue to accord the event a top priority as grassroots programme. I hope and pray that the competition stays long on the NTF calendar,’’ Abamu said.

Another player, Akintola Kolawole, 18, from Ogun State who played in the U-18 category, expressed happiness at the general organisation of the tournament.

“Even though I lost my game, 6-2 to Yusuf Abeeb, but am satisfied at the standard of officiating of the tournament.

“The attendance too, was impressive as many players turned up from across the country. It is a sign of the improvements in the growth of the game,’’ said Kolawole, who vowed to aim at a better outing in next edition.

Elegbede Tolulope, 18, from Ijemo-titun High School, Ogun State, corroborated Kolawole views on the impressive officiating. “I am glad to be part of this championship, because it has helped to me improve more in my game.

“The standard was high, the officiating was fair. We all had a good tournament,’’ she said.

Oiza Yakubu, 10, from Lanlet Secondary School, Lagos said: “the competition helped me in re-building my confidence. The competition has helped me to realise that I can play better.

“I will be very happy if there will be any scholarship attached to the prize’’.

Godwin Keinka, the coordinator of the competition, who said he was excited at the turnout of players for the competition, promised a bigger and better competition in the next edition.

“I am highly excited at the large turnout of participants from across the country. The standard was high too; this was in line with our desires to take the game to the grassroots.

“The players displayed brilliant performances. I only wish that we can have more developmental programmes to further expose our young players,’’ he said.

Abamu had emerged champions in the U-18 boy’s category, Chris Bulus won in the U-16, Saminu Abdullhai was the champion of U-14.

David Johnson won in the U-12, while Daniel Adeleye won in the U-10. In the female category, Edwards won in the U-16, Timibre Maxwell won the U-14 while Rebecca Peters won U-12.