Tochukwu Ezeh from Onitsha and Omalade Aderemi from Ondo were awarded the â€œmost outstanding playerâ€ for boys and girls respectively at the grand finale of the CBN Junior Championships last weekend. This is the first time the award has been given to players who did not win any titles.
Godwin Kienka, director of the International Tennis Academy, organisers of the junior tennis circuit, said the MOP will now be decided at the semifinal stage.
â€œThe two players showed a lot of promise â€“ mental toughness, potentially outstanding stroke production, imagination and determination to succeedâ€ Kienka who has produced many champions said
Ezeh, watched by his father and two siblings, lost a close to match in the Boys 14 finals to Christopher Itodo from Kaduna 9-8. Nine year old Chidinma Ezeh, put some smile on their fatherâ€™s face by winning the Girls 10 event beating Iye Onoja from Kaduna 9-3.
Marylove Edwards had another excellent outing, sweeping the Girls 12 title with a 9-0 thrashing of Kasara Adegboyega from the Gentle heart Global Harvest Foundation in Ibadan. Given a special exemption to play in two events, Miss Edwards played her way into the finals of the Girls 16 before falling to Zainab Oladimeji from Ondo 9-3.
Other winners in the weeklong championships were: Sylvester Emmanuel who beat Amos Michael 9-2 in Boys 16, Gabriel Friday (Kaduna) 9-7 winner over Mathew Agbamu (Lagos) and Umoru Kushimo from Abeokuta who edged Victor Tom from Port Harcourt.
The grand finale featured an exhibition match between international sports icon and former Super Eagles captain Segun Odegbami and Dare Art Alade a music icon and reality show host. It was aimed, according to the organisers, to excite the over 2000 students who attended the finals to consider taking up the sport.
Some of the dignitaries who attended the championship finals included Chioma Ajunwa, the only Nigerian individual Olympic gold medalist and Mr Adam Okoene MD of Midwestern Oil & Gas who was impressed enough with what he saw to commit to the sponsorship of another junior championship on the ITA Junior Tennis Circuit.
The tournament which featured singles competitions in boys and girls 10, 12 , 14 & 16 was held at the prestigious Lagos Lawn Tennis Club.