Minister pledges support for Sapetro Futures Tennis stars, Ogunsakin
Thrilled by the performance of the country’s junior stars at the maiden Sapetro Futures Tennis Championship, Sports Minister, Sunday Dare, has promised to put the Yakubu sisters, Oiza and Ohunene, and Marylove Edwards on the ministry’s sponsorship list and also reach out to the governors of Oyo and Ekiti states to send the two most outstanding junior tennis talents in the country, Ganiyu Mubarak (Oyo) and Seun Ogunsakin (Ekiti) to tennis academies abroad.
Edwards (16) and Oiza (16) are already ranked No. 2 and No. 5 in the seniors and have been precluded from playing in the ITA Junior Tennis Circuit.
Dare, who watched Ohunene (13) overcome some spirited effort from 14-year-old Success Ogunjobi to win the Girls 16s event 9-2, commended the partnership by the sponsors, Sapetro and the International Tennis Academy (ITA), adding, “this sponsorship, if it continues, will have tremendous impact on the development of tennis in Nigeria.”
The minister’s wish was immediately granted by the Executive Vice Chairman of Sapetro, Senator Daisy Danjuma, represented by the GM Finance, Mr Amos Garga. The EVC expressed Sapetro’s pleasure with the performance of the players and the organisation of the weeklong event by ITA and pledged the company would continue the sponsorship.
Also present as a special guest of honour was former Minister of Foreign Affairs and of Petroleum, Odein Ajumogobia.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the matches,” he said, adding: “I am amazed at the skill level of these junior players. I am sure that if we can find a way to send the best 10 to academies abroad, Nigeria will make significant impact in the tennis world in the near future.”
Seun Ogunsakin had turned his match against Damilare Awe from Oyo State in the boys 14s into an exhibition of his prodigious talent, as he completely overran his opponent 9-0, while Mubarak (14) promoted to play the 16s, met the expectation of the organisers by beating his older opponent, Basit Ajao from Lagos, 9-6.
In other finals, Khadijat Mohammed from Abuja beat Mary Iorlumun of Benue, 9 – 1 to win the girls 14s; Ndidi Osaji (Lagos) defeated Vanessa Inyang (Lagos) 9-7 in the girls 12s; Onyekachi Ogumjiofor from Oyo beat Seyi Ogunsakin (Ekiti) 9-3 in the boys 12s and Murewa Egbeyemi of Lagos continued his domination of an emerging rival with Malcolm Osaji, also of Lagos, winning 9-4 in the boys 10s event.
The Sapetro Futures Championship is now part of the ITA Junior Tennis Circuit, which provides the platform for juniors from all over the nation to showcase their talent.