By Jacob Ajom
The 37th Central Bank of Nigeria Senior Open Tennis championship begins today with top Nigerian tennis players fighting for honours and N700,000 star prize of in the male and female categories.
Also in contention for honours are the wheel chair players. Speaking at a pre-tournament briefing in Lagos yesterday, Alhaji Ibrahim Muazu, Director of Corporate Communications, Central Bank of Nigeria who was represented by James Iyari of CBN Lagos office, said the bank was delighted to include the wheel chair tennis which was introduced in the 2013 edition. “Wheel-chair tennis has come to stay.”
He noted that over the years, the tournament had become a selection ground for tennis players to represent the country at international tournaments. “Since inception in 1979, when Francis Kehinde emerged the first winner of the tournament, it has produced gifted players who have flown the flag at local and international tournaments.”
A wheel-chair tennis player, Jude Uwazie appealed to the organisers, the Nigeria Tennis Federation to expand the scope of participation for his category of players.
“Limiting the number to the top 16 is denying a host of other players the opportunity to try their luck. We have so many wheel-chair Tennis players who are eager to take part in the competition,” he noted.
He was however assured that the request would be looked into in subsequent editions. Only 16 male and female Wheel-chair Tennis players are expected to take part in the competition while 64 will compete in the male category and 32 in the female class.