Sponsor of the Sapetro Futures Tennis Championship, South Atlantic Petroleum, at the weekend commended the rising skill level of junior players across age groups in Nigeria.
Making the commendation at the grande finale of the championship, which ended at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan over the weekend, Vice Chairman, South Atlantic Petroleum, Senator Daisy Danjuma, who was represented by the company’s Chief Financial Officer, Amos Garga, said she was thrilled by the progress of the young players at the tournament.
“Each time we come to watch these juniors we see that the standard, especially their skill levels, have gone up. We hope they will continue to work hard to become successful professionals,” Danjuma said.
The grande finale, which featured finals in the four age groups of 10s, 12s, 14s and 16s, was dominated by players who had their parents or family members at the tournament. The Amassianis from Abuja, Chidubem and Chibuikem, guided by their mother Judith, won the Boys12s and Boys10s events.
Chidubem beat Calabar-based Damilare Agunbiade, whose father Tunde is his coach and guide, while Chibuikem defeated Ghasal Ashim from Oyo State in the Boys 10s final.
Another Agunbiade, Toluwase, was runner-up in the Girls 14s, where she lost to newly promoted Ndifreke Benjamin from the Lagos Apapa Club.
The Girls 16s and Girls 10s were also won by players who were guided by their fathers at the tournament. Khadijat Mohamed, who showed very remarkable improvement, revenged her previous defeat to Bright Emmanuel to win the title in the Girls 16s, while Mabubat Rasaq from Oyo State took the Girls 10s title with an emphatic win against Chisimdi Afambonu from Lagos.
The most outstanding players awards were won by Seyi Ogunsakin, who moved up from the 12s to the 14s and beat older players to the title. The award for the girls went to Ndifreke Benjamin, who also moved up from the 12s to the 14s and dominated the field.
Godwin Kienka, Director, International Tennis Academy, organisers of the ITA Junior Tennis Circuit, said the circuit had succeeded in establishing a very strong junior base for development into the senior and professional ranks.
“What is needed now is to find investors who will send them to reputable academies to fine-tune their skills and have them gain confidence to take on the world. Some of them are potential world Top 20 materials and any player who makes that grade is guaranteed at least $10m over a five-year period,” Kienka said.