26th July, 2011
Bronze medal winner in the tennis event at the recently concluded 17th National Sports Festival, tagged Garden City Games in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Owolabi Jinadu, has urged Lagos State government to create a conducive environment for all athletes participating in next yearâ€™s sports festival, irrespective of their states of origin.
Jinadu said the host state should allow a level playing ground for all the competitors, adding that creating a hostile environment for the visiting atheletes would undermine the standard of the Games.
Commenting on his experience at the Garden City Games, the Ogun State-born player, described the atmosphere in Port Harcourt as hostile, alleging that it was done delibrately by the host state to unsettle atheletes from other states.
â€˜â€˜It was not a pleasant experience, the organisers were hostile to us (visiting atheletes). We were camped in a hostel far away from where the tennis court was, just to give their players an advantage over us,â€™â€™ he alleged.
Speaking on the game of tennis in the country, Jinadu, who represented Delta State at the Sports Festival, opined that poor facilities, insufficent coaches, lack of sponsorship and dearth of tourneys are the bane of the development of the sport in the country.
â€˜â€˜Tennis is facing a lot of challenges, which are dragging it backward in the country,â€™â€™ he stated.
Jinadu, who is ranked 30 in the country, acknowledged the efforts of the Delta State government towards discovering and grooming talents.
He also commended the state government for taking good care of the atheletes that represented the state during the sports festival.
Jinadu dedicated his bronze medal won at the festival to his mentor, Tochuckwu Aghadinuno, whom he described as a God-sent angel to him.
â€˜â€˜I want to dedicate this medal to Tochuckwu Aghadinuno, he has always been there for me, he is my mentor, brother, father and everything to me,â€™â€™ he said.
The 17-year old player said he is dreaming to be among top 200 ranking players in the world someday. He said he plans to further his education as soon he is given an adminssion at the Delta State University.
â€˜â€˜My aspirations is to be ranked among top 200 in the world and to gain admission into a university in the country, so that I will be able to fall back on my certificate when age tells on me in the game in the nearest future,â€™â€™ he said.