Lolia Kienka who dominated the junior tennis scene before leaving for further studies in the United StatesÂ of America last year, has bagged five awards at the end of the tennis season in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association Conference.
A sophomore at the Shaw University in North Carolina, Lolia Kienka became the top player this year and led her university to win the conference without losing a match. She was awarded the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the conference season.
At the conference finals which took place in West Virginia mid April, Lolia was again voted the MVP andÂ then went on to sweep three awards at the Universityâ€™s season ending award night.
Lolia was voted the most improved player in the womenâ€™s tennis team and added the Chester Davis Sportsmanship Award instituted by a former national star athlete from the school. The biggest of the awards which cameÂ at the end was the Shaw University Athletic Directorâ€™s Award for Female Athlete of the Year.
In 2009, her first year at the college she was voted the rookie of the year for the entire conference and helped her school to qualify for the regionals for the first time in almost a decade _ a feat the team repeated this year.
Lolia Kienka has thus followed the footsteps of her elder brother Kalada who was rookie of the year in his first year at the University and last year won the award of the Most Improved Player at the school. He also finished the conference season without losing a match.
Reacting to the awards, the Rivers State commissioner of sports, Boma Iyaye said, â€œ this is very interesting. We shall do all in our power to ensure that these outstanding athletes from the Rivers State become the best that they can be.â€
Also commenting, the speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly a former national tennis player and vice president of the Nigeria Tennis Federation, Tonye Harry, promised: â€œWe shall get the attention of the Rivers State government to support them with their training so that they can become successful tennis professionals when the finish their studies and become role models for youths not only in the Rivers State but in the Niger Delta as a whole.â€
The American school system has the best mix of sports and academics and has been the nucleus of sports development and the production of world class sports men and women over the years for the USA. Most of the Nigerian star athletes like Mary Onyali, Innocent Egbunike and Nduka Odizor _ Nigeriaâ€™s most succesful tennis professional to date _ came through the system.