Nigerian Tennis icon, Nduka Odizor says there is need to take the country’s grassroots sports development program to a higher pedestal if Nigeria is to compete favourably with its international counterparts in future.
Odizor stated this in Asaba while briefing journalists ahead of the five-day Delta Summer Tennis Clinic organised by the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education in conjunction with the State Tennis Association and the Duke Odizor International Tennis Foundation.
Odizor said he was in the country to discover young talents in tennis who would fly Nigeria’s flag in future tennis tournaments.
He asserted that the Tennis Clinic which would hold twice or four times yearly was aimed at encouraging young people to take up tennis especially as the nation had lacked a top player since he left the scene in the early 90s after being ranked 52 in the world in 1984.
Odizor who won a singles title and seven doubles title in his career as well as helping Nigeria win several Davis Cup matches in the past said the Tennis Clinic would expand with Tennis centres expected to be built in Local Government Headquarters in the State to aid the development of the game in the state.
The State Commissioner Basic and Secondary Education, Mr Chiedu Ebie, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr David Onekpe as well as the Chairman of the Delta State Sports Commission, Chief Tonobok Okowa represented by the Director General in the Commission, Mr Victor Onogagamue gave an assurance that the program would become a part of the State’s education calendar because Physical and Health Education will become a compulsory subject from this term.
The Chairman South-South Nigeria Tennis Federation, Honourable Patrick Obahiagbon and the Chairman Delta State Tennis Association, Mr Karo Ilolo, commended the State Governments’ support for the programme.
He urged the private sector to partner with the State government in taking the game of Tennis to the grassroots as well as ensuring its sustainability.
The Delta Summer Tennis Clinic which is expected to smash off tomorrow at the quash and Leisure Court, Government House, Asaba will see children between the ages of three and fifteen participating with about two hundred children already registered out of the two hundred and fifty expected to registe