*I want to be a tennis champion
Exceptional members of the over 200 children who participated in the 2017 Akure tennis clinic were picked to send their feelings to the convener, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu. As expected, it was a plethora of different opinions. We bring you their various views.
Oluwagbebe Ayomide: I am a student of St Mathias Anglican High School in Akure. I am 12 years of age, male. This is one of my best and most interesting holidays. I never expected to enjoy every minute of the tennis clinic. I made so many new friends, met some of the nation’s great sports stars and learnt how better to conduct oneself in a group setting.
I knew about the clinic through the daughter of the state tennis coach who mentioned it. Once the governor’s wife’s name was associated with it, I felt it must be an interesting thing.
In the clinic, I got new skills. I had so much fun. New but great exercises. One thing I want her to still do for me is, the clinic is not enough. We thank her for the clinic but we want a training that will continue after.
Assuming I see her physically? I will sing a special song for her in appreciation for giving is the clinic.
Please tell her also. For other kids, this clinic is good during every holiday. My mother, Rashidat Oluwagbebe works in Akure South local government and my father is Kayode Oluwagbebe who works in Ifedore local government.
Aina Henry: I am 12 years of age. I am a JSS III student of Silas Universal Secondary School in the Aiyedun area of Akure. My dad, Emmanuel, is late. He was a banker. My mother, Remi, is a nurse in Ekiti State.
Heard of the clinic through an advert placed at the entrance of the stadium. Later, I heard it in the news on radio and later on television. Though, I have been coming to the stadium before but this is a different experience all together.
I like her for what she has done. I also think I can imagine she has spent so much money bring two people from America, two from Abuja, one from Lagos and one from Ibadan all because of us. God will bless her and take good care of our children.
One request? Uhm! I want to be a tennis champion. Can she give me a racket and two balls? I want to be coming to improve on what I learnt at the clinic. By this time next year, I want to give her a report on the skills she has given me opportunity to learn about.
Asked how he will thank her, Henry prostrated flat on the ground and was muttering prayers. I want God to bless her with long life so that she can see when I will be playing like Jokovic. I want to be like him and be a better tennis player than him. I love tennis because I now know how to play it.
Ogundele Tomikeyin: I am 10 years old. I am a JSS I student of Telnet international school along Ilesa road in Akure. My dad is Michael, a missionary and tennis coach while my mum, Toyin, is a missionary and caterer and athletics coach.
My dad told me about the tennis clinic and I begged him to register me and he did. I learnt so many new things and behaviours during the clinic. I also learnt how to tell people thank you for anything they do for me. I met many new friends. I love all the coaches who taught me all they imparted to us.
I want to thank Arabinrin Akeredolu for the unique opportunity of this tennis clinic. Even if I was to pay money, the money cannot be enough to cover the quality of what I learnt. I took my time to ask each of the coaches to tell me about themselves. They are very great sports people I have the ambition to be better than them especially Aunty Rolake from America. She is so humble like Aunty Mary.
Yes, please express my personal gratitude to Arabinrin Akeredolu. Thanks to her vision. God will bless her richly.
Ayo-Gbaye Anjolajesu: I am 10 years going to JSS I. I and my brother, Tijesunimi who is in JSS II and he is 12 are in the tennis clinic together. Our dad, Olajire Gbaye is a lecturer at the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) and our mum, Olufunke Ayo-Gbaye is a caterer.
My friend who had been coming to train at the stadium informed me of the clinic. Now, I understand that basic way of playing tennis. Forehand, back hand, swings, ready position, cross court and so much more.
The pupil of Telnet international school Akure added that, “it is my ambition to be like Mrs Akeredolu. She gave me a great opportunity. When I grow I want to create opportunities for other children.
My ambition is to have a great degree and be a greater tennis player than aunty Rolake. I learnt so many things from her conducts. She is friendly, calm and can repeat one skill until you learn it well. She talks with plenty of patience. She teaches well.
Please tell Mrs Akeredolu that I appreciate her. I will pray for her every day. See the big stars she brought for me to meet and shake hands with them. Tell her that she can do more. I want to be the best tennis player in the world.
To her brother, a very reserved player: thank her for the opportunity to learn about tennis. She has done marvellous and great. Aunty Rolake and coach Savage were two of the coaches I love so well.
Okere Favour: I am 11 years old. I will be going to JSS I. I attend Jesus Loving care primary school in Owerri in Imo state. I am on holiday in Akure. My mum knows about the clinic and registered me and truly speaking, that is a great decision.
Her mum, Favour Nwachukwu, is a policewoman. Her dad, Chinyere Nwachukwu, is a businessman.
This is a great chance to have attended the clinic. I enjoyed every inch of the clinic. It is a memorable experience for me. I want God to please bless our mama for me. She will never lack. She is so wonderful for organising this clinic. If I have the opportunity, the only thing I wish to ask her is to give more opportunities like this to children.
For me, this is a great holiday. I met so many new people. I made new friends and met some of Nigeria’s great sports people. If not for this clinic, how can I have met them? See the opportunities?
That aunty Rolake is my favourite. I was in her class. She is a great tennis teacher. My ambition is to play tennis for Nigeria.
Aiyemomi Charles: he is a seven year old pupil of Grand School Akure. His mother, Funmi Akinwekomi is a teacher in my school. She told me about the clinic. And I told her I want to attend.
I enjoyed the clinic.i met new friends like Covenant. Everyday as soon I get to the stadium, I will look for him. We joined the same tennis class during the clinic. He is my best friend.
Asked what he learnt, he named each skill by demonstrating them: volley, swings, backhand, forehand, step, service, ready position and racket holding.
I want to tell the governor’s wife plenty thank you. I like her.
Covenant and Faith Babatunde: His friend was interviewed and left out. He wasn’t happy about it. He cried and reported to a coach who called the reporter’s attention. When invited for the interview, he insisted, it has to be with his sister, Faith.
Covenant is just seven years and his sister is six. They attend Grand School Akure. Their father, Henry, is an administrator with the Ondo state Sports Council while their mother Temitope, is a health information officer.
“My daddy came back from work and told us about the tennis clinic. We showed interest and he registered us.
Very interesting clinic. I want to be a great tennis player like Mr Nduka (Odizor). I asked him and he told me about himself. He is a great player.
Granny (Arabinrin Akeredolu) has done great. “Thank you ma.”
For Faith, “I want to pray for her.” She did the prayers which lasted almost two minutes with a repetitive demand for “God bless her” almost 10 times.