By Adesina Wahab
The Federal Airports Authority (FAAN) Tennis Club, Ikeja has called on the sport authorities to upgrade of all sporting facilities in the country to enhance sport development.
This was stated by the Vice Chairman of FAAN Tennis Club, Engineer Bello Mukhtar, during the just-concluded annual age grade tournaments for children under the ages of 12 and 14 years.
Mukhtar gave the assurance that the club would continue to develop tennis among teenagers.
“This tournament is about sport development. Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria is very keen on ensuring sport development among its staff, staff’s children and non-staff.
“Tennis is just an aspect of what FAAN cherishes. But it’s also financing football too. You can see that the facility here is just been upgraded and by all standards, we intend to sustain the development,” Mukhtar said.
While speaking on the plans of FAAN Tennis Club to discover and nurture more talents in different age categories, the vice chairman said the club would continue to organize events and trainings for talented kids.
He said, “We need to get them(children) encouraged by giving out kits and exposing them to more training facilities.
“If you have talent and the facilities are not there, the talent is dead and cannot be harnessed. One of Nigeria’s problems in sport is lack of good facilities. The only difference between our tennis players and others is sporting facilities.”
The sixth edition of the tournament was held at FAAN Quarters, Ikeja, Lagos.
During the final of the tournament, Dele Badejo, Tournament Director and the Coach explained the reasons behind the tourney.
“We focus on children’s tournament so that we can catch them young and impart the skills of the game into the kids to become world champions tomorrow.
“As a coach, I have taken it upon myself to monitor the progress of these children and continue to encourage them at every given opportunity.”
One of the parents who spoke to journalists, Mr Tunde Agunbiade, said: “this tourney is wonderful and the kids need this type of competition to develop themselves physically and mentally.”
Agunbiade later appealed to all tiers of governments to inculcate flexible sporting activities into the primary and secondary schools’ curricular.
Christian Olanrewaju, a 13-year-old girl, lauded the organizers for moulding raw tennis talents in the state.
The Winner of under-14, boys’ tournament; Taofeek Mogaji thanked the organizers and promised to do more in subsequent tournaments.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Lagos State Tennis Association, Tokunbo Agoro, has commended the FAAN Tennis Club for organizing the 6th edition of the tourney.
“In Lagos State, we are trying to make sure that every kid must be in school to have a good chance of playing tennis. Also, we intend to create central tennis time table for the competitions so that one tourney will not clash with other,” Agoro explained.
In Under-12 (Girls) competition, Okajare Sunmisola defeated Osayunwan O Jael (5-7,6-5,10-8) While Michael Nekekpemi defeated Happy Agbi in three sets ( 6-3, 3-6, 10-6) in boys category.
For Under-14 (Girls), Blessing Otu thrashed Esther Marshal in two straight sets(6-3, 6-1).
Taofeek Mogaji defeated Jimoh Joseph (7-5, 6-3) to claim the title in the Under-14 category(Boys).