…Engages Rolake Olagbegi for tennis clinic
Dayo Johnson Akure
WIFE of Ondo State governor, Betty Ayanwu – Akeredolu weekend said that the present government is determined to make the state the tennis hub in Nigeria.
She said this at the the kick off of the State Summer Tennis Clinic for children between the ages four to 13 held at the Township Stadium in Akure.
The wife of the governor who is a tennis enthusiast said “it was high time Ondo State began to produce its own Serena Williams, thereby building a future of champions of the game in Nigeria and the whole world at large.”
While observing that Ondo State in the past produced national and international players like Princess Rolake Olateru Olagbegi, Segun Balogun and the umpire at the Wimbledon, Prince Wale Olateru Olagbegi, regretted that Nigeria has now become a sleeping giant, thus steps must be taken to retrace the course of history.
“This clinic is essentially to identify and develop talents in our children. It is important to encourage sports development among youths in the state, particularly at the grassroots level to discover and develop potentials and skills of the young ones who are capable of becoming champions.
“The benefits of catching our youths young, especially in sports cannot be over emphasized. Let us look at champions like the Williams sisters; Venue and Serena Williams, who started as young as three years and have gone on to win numerous awards and break glass ceiling, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Billie Jean king just to mention a few.”,
She noted that tennis has identified many of these champions and catapulted them from poverty and obscurity and launched them to the world stage where they are being celebrated and applauded constantly.
Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu who was represented by his Deputy, Hon. Agboola Ajayi., acknowledged the vision of the First Lady and her concern for all the critical aspects of the economy.
The former African tennis champion, US-based Rolake Olateru Olagbegi who had earlier donated tennis materials to the wife of the governor for the participants at the government house said she started playing tennis at the age of ten.
She said there are many opportunities in playing tennis and urged parents of the participants to take advantage of the clinic to develop their children.
The event featured other side attractions which included a jogging exercise led Mrs Akeredolu and an exhibition match between her and Rolake Olagbegi and the state Deputy governor Hon. Ajayi.
The Summer Tennis Clinic was conceived by the governors wife to integrate sports and education in a sustainable social forum and is strategically billed to be sponsored by corporate organizations and personalities who have passion for tennis and other related sporting activities in Ondo State and Beyond.
Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye, a one time Director-General in the National Sports Commission also has a hand in the clinic.
Rolake held similar clinic in Akure last year and was hired by Delta State for the last Sports Festival in Lagos. She did a pretty good job of it.