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Grassroots tennis development is only way – Odizor

*Delivers tennis clinic in Asaba

Nigerian tennis icon, Nduka ‘The Duke’ Odizor, has reiterated the need to re-focus the direction of tennis development in the nation towards the grassroots if Nigeria is to compete favourably with its international counterparts in the future.

Odizor stated this in Asaba while briefing journalists ahead of a 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 (Do it) Foundation.

Odizor said he was in the country to discover young tennis talents who would fly Nigeria’s flag in future tournaments.

He added that the clinic 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.

Some of the equipment donated by Nduka Odizor
Some of the equipment donated by Nduka Odizor to Delta State

Odizor who won a singles title and seven doubles title in his career as well as helping Nigeria win several Davis Cup matches, said they would expand the clinic with tennis centres expected to be built in local government headquarters in the State to aid the development of the game in Delta.

The state Commissioner for 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 programme would become a part of the State’s education calendar because Physical and Health Education will become a compulsory subject from this term.

It would be recalled that Odizor just finished a tennis clinic in Akure organized by the wife of the governor, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu with another legend, Rolake Olagbegi-Kassim.

Earlier in the year, he had donated part of a N10million tennis equipment to the Delta State government towards ensuring that this tennis clinic is evolved and sustained.

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