Winners have emerged in the 6th edition of the annual age grade tournaments for children under the ages of 12 and 18 years.
The tournaments which are being organized by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Tennis Club, Ikeja, Lagos came to a close at the weekend with four winners in different categories.
The tournaments featured the U-12 Boys and Girls event as well as the U-14 Boys and Girls event.
Okajare Sunmisola emerged the winner of the U-12 Girls final beating her opponent, Osayunwan O. Jael 7:5, 6:5 and 10:8 while Michael Nekekpemi emerged the winner of the U-12 Boys final beating Happy Agbi 6:3, 3:6 and 10:6.
Also, the U-14 Girls saw Blessing Otu emerged as the winner after beating her opponent, Esther Marshal 6:3, 6:1 whereas Taofeek Mogaji won the U-14 Boys after surprising his opponent, Jimoh Joseph 7:5, 6:3.
Speaking on the outcome of the game, the winner of U-12 Girls final, Okajare Sunmisola said that she was so glad and happy that she won the competition having clashed out in the two previous editions at the semi-finals.
“This is actually my third tournament that I entered the finals and I won. My first tournament I lost in the semi-finals and I also lost out in the semis in my second tournament. So, I am very grateful to God that he made me win the Girls under 12 match. I feel so happy”, she said.
On her part, the first runner up, Osayunwam O. Jael stated that despited the fact that she lost the game, she enjoyed it while it lasted even as she opined that she put in her best in the game but the better opponent carried the day.
She however described the winner as “a very strong competitor, she doesn’t give up on her balls, she moves and I had a strong opponent.”
Osayunwam who was entering the competition for the second time added that “I will continue, I have a strong desire for tennis and I have a strong passion for tennis and I can’t quit just because I lost, I have lost many times. I will still continue working hard in my training. I want to become like Serena Williams.
Also speaking, the Secretary of the FAAN Tennis Club, Engr. Eloke Justus opined that they put up the competition to actually divert the attention of the children from the normal academic work so that they could develop some other talents.
He disclosed that there were so many of them who participated in the first, second and third editions whom he said had actually gotten some talents doing very great after the competition saying that “we look at it as a way of occupying our kids during the vacation so that from there, you can unravel a lot of things.”
Adding his voice, the Treasurer of the FAAN Tennis Club, Mr. Okechukwu Okeke while describing tennis a global game disclosed that they had discovered a lot of talents in the last five editions of the tournaments some of who he said were playing in South Africa as well as in the United States of America (USA).
On what the winners stand to gain from the competition, Okeke said,” First of all, they will game in the game of tennis; secondly, they will gain financially and materially because we have gifts for them.”
On his part, the Chairman of the Lagos State Tennis Association, Mr. Tokunbo Agoro observed that the competition was aimed at catching them young at this particular age where they will grow and then mature into perfect players.
He noted that the first step towards catching them young in the game of tennis was for every child to be in school and get a very good chance of playing tennis on the regular.
“Also, we need to harmonize our timetable whereby if there is a tournament going on in FAAN; it shouldn’t clash with the tournament going on in Ilorin which is going on right now. So, there are huge potentials and we have big plans for all the juniors so that going forward, we see a better tennis academy in Lagos state”, he added.
On efforts being put in place to bring the public school into the game, the Lagos State Tennis Association Chairman stated,” What we are trying to do is liaise with the sponsors, big companies because we can’t do this alone, it has to be a partnership with private companies whereby every local government at least, my plan is to have twenty tennis court in every local government before we leave so that way, we bring public schools into tennis.”
Highpoint of the tournaments was the presentation of gift items to the winners among other side attractions.
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