Seun Ogunsakin from Ekiti State regained his No.1 position in the ITA Junior Tennis Circuit Boys U-16s ranking with a convincing 9-6 victory over his perennial rival, Mubarak Ganiyu, from Oyo State, in one of the finals of the NNPC/SNEPCo Junior Tennis Masters, which ended at the Luik Tennis Recreation Club, Lagos, at the weekend.
Mubarak, winner of the MTN Junior Tennis League Championship Boys U-16s title in June, had lost to Kater Kpum from Benue in the second round robin match and had to beat Ogunsakin to qualify. It appeared that the extra effort to qualify took the sting off the usually vibrant and hard hitting player, who made too many volley errors at the net.
Murewa Egbeyemi, who has never lost a final since he hit the circuit in the 10s and then 12s, suffered his first defeat in the hands of Chidubem Amasiani from Abuja, who won 9-6. Like Mubarak, Egbeyemi suffered an upset in his second round robin match to Joel Michael from Lagos wasting a 7-0 lead to go down 8-9 and then had to beat Amasiani in the last round robin match to edge Michael for a place in the finals.
The girls U-12s and U-16s were a bit more straight forward as Lorelay Holzendoff from Benin City beat Ndifreke Benjamin from the Apapa Club 9-3 in the U-12s final to keep a clean slate through the tournament.
Khadijat Mohamed also swept through her matches in the girls U-16s, but had a tougher fight from Mary Iorlumun from Benue in the finals, staving off a late surge from her opponent to win 9-4.
The most outstanding players’ awards went to Kpum and Michael who beat defending champions in the round robin stage.
In her closing remarks, the guest of honour, Mrs Elohor Aiboni, who is the first female MD of SNEPCo, said she was impressed to see “such lovely, brilliant children with amazing tennis skills competing and working hard to become future world stars.”
She promised that NNPC and Shell are happy to partner with the International Tennis Academy to develop these talented boys and girls to become worldclass players and bring sporting glory to Nigeria.
The MD was represented by the Communications Director of Shell Nigeria, Bamidele Odugbesan.