By John Egbokhan
Organisers of the Central Bank Junior Tennis Championship have said that the best performers in the 16 and 18 categories, which serves off on Monday at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club in Onikan, are to feature in the main draw of the senior competition, holding later in the year.
Speaking yesterday in Lagos, coordinator of the developmental programme, Godwin Kienka said the tourney which runs from Monday to Sunday would see players compete in various age categories and insisted that water-tight measures have been put in place to ensure that age cheats do not crash into categories that they are not meant to feature in.
â€œWe are quite serious about development and to achieve this aim, we must ensure that only players who fall under the age specification, get to play in their respective categories. If we can get it right from the screening process, I believe that our aim of unearthing talented players would not be in vainâ€, said Kienka, founder of the International Tennis Academy.
Also speaking, Farouk Garko, Head of the Governorâ€™s Office, Central Bank of Nigeria, sponsors of the event which is in its fourth year, said that the apex bank, introduced the programme in 2007 because of the need to develop tennis from the junior level and to serve as a feeder to the senior category.
He added that the scope of the event has been expanded to players in the 18 and under category, thereby, covering players from 10-18 years
â€œWe want to raise the standard of the tournament and establish a strong transition platform for the senior category and tennis developmentâ€, said Garko, who whetted the appetite of players with a promise of bountiful prizes.
â€œThere are prizes to be won by winners and runners-up ain various age categories in various age categories as well as prizes for the most outstanding player in the boys and girls categories. The winners in the 16 and 18 categories are expected to contest in the CBN Senior Open Tennis Championshipâ€, said Garko.