Players from the South West and South South stole the show at the Chevron Junior Tennis Masters, which ended at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club on Sunday.
The tournament, which featured two age categories – boys and girls 12s and 16s – culminated in a three-month long training programme, which impacted over 1,500 schools and out of school children in seven target locations. The masters tournament featured the best players from the training programme and the best players from the six zones of the country.
The grand finale started with the girl’s 12 between Nene Yakubu of the South West, runner up in the last edition, and Favour Amaechi from the South South. Yakubu, who was favoured to win and got majority support from about 1,000 students and children who attended the finals, overcame a late surge from Amaechi, which saw the Port Harcourt-based girl take the second set to win 10-7, 8-10, 10-3.
The boy’s 12 final took similar pattern with the No.1 seed, Seun Ogunsakin (aka Nadal) from the South West, also a runner-up in the last edition, rallying from a set down to clinch the title 7-10, 10-5, 10-8.
Rebecca Ekpeyong of the South-South retained her title with a tough 12-10, 10-12, 10-3 victory over Jesutoyosi Adeusi of the South West. With top 16s like Omolade Aderemi, Favour Moses, and Omolayo Bamidele promoted to the seniors, it was assumed that 15-year-old Ekpeyong was going to have an easy tournament, but that was not to be as she also had a testy semifinal match against Mary Udofa from the North Central.
Daniel Adeleye from the South-West prevented a family sweep of the 16s by the Ekpeyongs by defeating David Ekpeyong, younger brother of Rebecca, 10-7, 11-13, 10-4.
“We are happy with the outcome,” said Peter Ekpeyong, father of Rebecca and David. “We have a lot of sports talents in the South South and it is obvious that the Chevron Tennis programme is yielding dividends by bringing up the sporting talents in the zone.”
The Chairman/Managing Director of Chevron Nigeria, Mr Jeffrey Ewing, in a brief speech, commended the impressive standard of the young players and, in his words, “a well run tournament.”
The grand finale attracted a lot of dignitaries, including the deputy governor of Lagos State, who was represented as well as the Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr Segun Dawodu, who also commended the sponsors and organisers for a far reaching project.