Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, has lauded Nigeria’s Tennis legend, Nduka Odizor, for returning home to develop tennis in the State.
Governor Okowa said the decision to discover and groom young tennis talent in the State was a welcome development assuring that his administration would give the program the needed support to ensure that young Deltans became world-class tennis players.
The Governor who was fielding questions from journalists during the closing ceremony of the week long Duke Odizor International Tennis Foundation Clinic which was organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education as well as the State Sports Commission under the auspices of the Delta State Tennis Association said his administration would continue to encourage private sector participation in sports.
He also assured the youth that his administration would continue to seek ways of engaging them in meaningful ventures as he remained committed to the prosperity for all Deltans agenda.
The Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education Chiedu Ebie reiterated government’s commitment towards creating a platform for the discovery and development of young talents in the State.
Ebie said the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education was exploring the possibility of organizing a first ever Delta Schools Games next year.
The Commissioner for Urban Development and Chairman Delta State Tennis Association, Karo Ilolo, said the Association was working with several agencies towards the development of the game in the State and enjoined the private sector to partner with the State government towards achieving the dream of sustaining the gains of the Tennis Clinic. Odizor nicknamed the Duke of Wimbledon in his playing days following his performance at the 1984 Wimbledon Opens where he was ranked 52nd and played in the last 16 stage said tennis could open doors to a vista of opportunities for the youth and enjoined them not to relent but remain focused.
Odizor said tennis was a money spinner but only those who remained diligent and steadfast would be able to attain the heights in the game.
He said a minimum of 10 years was needed for any player who had been training and playing consistently to become a professional.
Odizor expressed confidence in Nigeria producing a player who could play in the ATP Tour in the next ten years from the crop of players who participated in the week long Tennis Clinic.