Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will doll out a whopping sum of N14 million to sponsor the 42nd Edition of the CBN Senior Open Tennis Championship, Abuja Open, scheduled to hold at the Package B of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium Abuja.
Giving a breakdown of the price money, the National President of the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF), Engr Ifadayo Akindoju, said that while the participants for men’s singles will smile to the bank with N4.37 million, men’s double N1.35 million, ladies’ singles, N2.81 million, ladies’ double N1.35 million, wheelchair men’s singles N1.51 million and ladies’ singles N1.51 million.
Akindoju further revealed that some of the 10 best athletes participating in the Abuja Open include Quadri Oyinlomo, Agugbom Christie, Aiyegbusi Aanu, Samuel Blessing, Onebamhion Patience, Anuna Blessing, Oladipo Ibironke, Bamidele Omolayo, Olowu Bukola and Arhunwunde Osariemen.
Speaking during the event to unveil the tournament, the Ag Director, Corporate Communications Department CBN, Osita Nwanisobi, revealed that the Apex bank has increased the price money for the participating athletes.
While revealing that the weeklong event will hold between November 6 to 14, the CBN Director said:
“The global sporting calendar for 2020 has been greatly disrupted due to the advent of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It is, therefore, my pleasure to announce the commencement of the 42nd Edition of the CBN sponsored Senior Open Tennis Championship, in collaboration with the NTF scheduled for the November 6 to 14, 2020 at the Tennis Complex, Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.
“Following the approval by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) for the resumption of non-contact sports in Nigeria, in line with COVID-19 sports codes and protocol, we are pleased that this event is finally holding today, five clear months after it was initially scheduled to hold.
“As part of measures to ensure a seamless competition, the NTF will list the specific protocols to be followed by players, officials and spectators in the course of the 10-day event. While we desire for huge spectatorship, we are constrained to limit the number of spectators in order to eliminate the risk of the potential spread of the virus, which has reduced drastically.
“The objective of the Senior Open Tennis Championship remains to ensure that young talents are given a veritable platform to represent the nation at International Tennis Tournaments. However, over the years the competition had also served as a platform to take young talents off the streets and afford them an opportunity to channel their energy and showcase their talent.
“Some of these talents have gone on to win on global stages and others have become coaches of the game of tennis. As you may be aware, the CBN, collaborating with the International Tennis Academy, also sponsors the junior category of the tennis tournament (otherwise known as the CBN Junior Tennis Championship) which is open to boys and girls in four age groups of 10, 12, 14 and 16.
“This is designed to serve as a feeder to the Senior Championship, which is open to Men and Ladies from age 18 and above. The Management of the Bank continues to note, with great pleasure, the steady development and success recorded in the championships as players from the CBN Junior Competition have always represented Nigeria in the African Junior Tennis Championships and other international competitions.
“On the other hand, players from the CBN Senior Open Tennis Championships have gone on to be selected by the Nigerian Tennis Federation to represent the nation at International Tournaments such as the Davis Cup, All African Games and Pro-Circuit Tournament amongst others. In line with our tradition, we have made provisions for cash prizes of varying amounts for the winners and runners-up in the various categories, including the Male and Female Wheelchair categories.
“The CBN recognizes the critical role of the youth in nation-building and we are doing all within the purview of our mandate to encourage the empowerment of the Nigerian youth. I, therefore, use this opportunity to call on the Nigerian youth to take advantage of all the intervention programmes of the Bank to enhance the quality of their lives as well as contribute to the economic prosperity of Nigeria. I equally urge them to maximize this awesome opportunity provided by this Championship to exhibit their talents, with a view to showcasing them at tournaments locally and internationally,” he noted.