The standard of Nigeria’s young stars portends a good omen for the development of tennis, sponsors of the Sapetro Futures Tennis Championship have said.

The 2022 championship ended at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club at the weekend. Speaking at the end of the competition, Executive Vice Chairman of the South Atlantic Petroleum, Senator Daisy Danjuma, said: “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.” Senator Danjuma was represented at the event by the company’s Chief Financial Officer, Amos Garga.

The grande finale, which featured matches in four age groups of U-10s, U-12s, U-14s and U-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 Boys’ U-12s and Boys’ U-10s categories. 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’ U-10s final.

Another Agunbiade, Toluwase, was runner-up in the Girls’ U-14s, where she lost to newly promoted Ndifreke Benjamin from the Lagos Apapa Club.

The Girls’ U-16s and Girls U-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’ U-16s, while Mabubat Rasaq from Oyo State took the Girls U-10s title with an emphatic victory against Chisimdi Afambonu from Lagos.

The most outstanding player award (boys) was won by Seyi Ogunsakin, who moved up from the U-12s to the U-14s and beat older players to the title. The award for the girls went to Ndifreke Benjamin, who also moved up from the U-12s to the U-14s and dominated the field.

According to the Director, International Tennis Academy (ITA), Godwin Kienka, organisers of the ITA Junior Tennis Circuit, the circuit has succeeded in establishing a 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 $10 million over a five-year-period,” Kienka said    

The tournament was attended by several dignitaries, including Mr. Babatunde Fatayi-Williams, Vice president of the African Swimming Federation and Fiona Jibril, the Executive P.A. to the Chairman, South Atlantic Petroleum, General T. Y. Danjuma. 

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