The 15th edition of the NNPC/Chevron Tennis Clinic ended at the weekend with the organizers picking the best players out of the 100 participants to form the new tennis academy bankrolled by the joint venture company.
The three-week clinic held at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan, and managed by multi-talented former Nigerian international, Chris Enahoro, attracted children drawn from schools across Lagos State.
During the clinic, the children were taken on the rudiments of tennis with a view to choosing those with the brightest prospect of becoming good players in the future when given the right tutelage.
Speaking at the end of the clinic, Chevron’s General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Deji Haastrup, reaffirmed the company’s commitment in the training of future tennis stars for the country, adding that the company is determined to ensure that tennis gets the prominence enjoyed by other sports in Nigeria.
In his speech read by Chevron’s Corporate Responsibility Manager, Brikinn Esimaje, Haastrup disclosed, “The100 kids in this year’s Tennis Clinic, which is the 15th Edition of the programme, were given intensive training and coaching by veterans and experienced trainers, some of whom are past national champions. It would also interest you to note that close to 1,000 children have benefited from this programme since its inception.
“In line with the thrust of our Social Investment Plan, Chevron has consistently supported the development of sports in Nigeria because we recognize the important roles of sports in improving the physical and social wellbeing of the individual and the community.
“Part of this commitment is the NNPC/Chevron Tennis Programme, which specific objective is to help Nigeria return to its past glory by developing young men and women to fill the places once occupied by past distinguished Nigerian champions, who once flew Nigeria’s flag at the African Tennis Championship, the Wimbledon and even the U.S. Open.”
Haastrup enthused that the objectives of the programme are being realized as some graduates of the Tennis Clinic have been representing the Nigeria and indeed, West Africa in international junior circuits.
“Some of the older players from the programme have been competing and recording moderate successes in senior tournaments. I congratulate you participants and advise you to constantly practice the skills and techniques which you have acquired during the clinic. We are optimistic that with more exposure you will get even better.”
Also speaking at the event, the Project Consultant, Chris Enahoro, said the best players were selected to form the new Chevron Tennis Project because they believe the players can only compete effectively if they learnt the game from the young age.
He added: “Some of the graduates of the clinic, including Henry Atseye, Umoru Balami, Samuel Omoile and Emmanuel Idoko, are currently in a tennis academy in the United States run by a former Nigerian champion, Jonathan Igbinovia.
“The children you are seeing here today have the prospect of rescuing Nigerian tennis from the doldrums.”
At the end of the clinic, all the participants of the clinic were given school bags and other materials that will aid them in their academics.