5th March, 2013
As the 7th CBN Junior Tennis Championship served off yesterday at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan Lagos, the apex bank says the competition has impacted positively to the growth of Nigerian tennis since inception.
Director, Corporate Communications of CBN, Mr. Ugo Okoroafor, said that the competition meant for the players between the ages of 10 and 18 years, has met the expectations of the sponsor with a lot of gains to show for the sponsorship.
Okoroafor disclosed that six players from the junior championship won full sports scholarships to universities in the United States and academies in Holland and South Africa, while some of the products of the competition have been making steady progress to the senior level.
The likes of Umoru Balami, Biola Akewula, Lolia Kienka, Kalada Kienka, Onyeka Mbanu and Kabiru Malik are enjoying scholarship abroad after their exploits at the CBN Junior Championship, players such as Sarah Adegoke, Biola Akewula, Onyeka Mbanu and Christian Paul have move from the junior category to the senior level.
“Sarah Adegoke won the junior circuit in 2009 and 2010. She scaled all hurdles to the final of the CBN Open for senior players last year. Onyeka Mbanu, who starred in the competition as a 12-year old, got to the semi-finals of the CBN Open in 2011.
“Also, Christian Paul, who won the junior circuit in the U-18 category, emerged the winner of the 18th National Sports Festival held last year in Lagos, while Biola Akewula won the CBN Open in 2010 at the age of 18 years,” he said.
Okoroafor noted that the CBN would not relent in its effort to partner with the Nigeria Tennis Federation, NTF to support the younger players to rise to the stardom.
“The objective of this championship is to ensure that young talents are discovered early and nurtured to limelight while establishing a strong transition platform for the senior category and tennis development.
“The management of CBN is satisfied with the steady development and success recorded in this championship as players from the CBN junior circuit have always represented Nigeria in the African junior tennis championships and other international competitions,” Okoroafor said.