By John Egbokhan
Central Bank Junior tennis champion, Kabiru Abdulmalk, has called for an increase in the number of junior tournaments in the country.Speaking yesterday after beating Olaniyi Adetunji 9-6, in the final of the boys 16 at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan, Abdulmalik said that tennis development would remain stunted if sponsors do not identify with the game at the junior level.
While expressing his delight at winning the trophy, the youngster said that he was saddened with the obvious inactivity that he and other talented players are made to suffer due to the near-absence of tournaments to play for career development.
â€œI am happy over this victory but I feel sad that with the fact that we do not have tournaments to play during the year. Without tournaments to play, our future in this game is not bright at all. Sponsors need to support us because this game about money and planningâ€, said Abdulmalk, who expressed worries over his future in the remaining nine months of the year.
â€œHaving won this tournament, I should be looking forward to the next event but bad enough for me, there is none in sight because we do not have sponsors. Without a tournament to look out for, there is no way I can express myselfâ€, said the youngster, who added that hardwork and focus helped him to top his opponent in the final.
â€œI believed that I could win but I did not allow it to get into my head. I worked hard for every ball on the court and deserved to be the championâ€, he said.
On his part, the losing finalist, Alaniyi Adetunji, admitted that his conqueror was better than him but promised to up his game the next time he plays in the final of a major event.
â€œHe is the champion because he played better but I know that one day that I would also be a champion, by the grace of Godâ€, he said.