*Gets ‘Let’s go, Girls!’ scholarship for two sessions
Products of the Ondo State Summer Tennis clinic have started showing signs of stardom. Some beneficiaries of the clinic who were formed into the Arabinrin Junior Tennis Club have started clocking in trophies at different tourneys in the country.
Arabinrin Junior Tennis Club competed in junior national tennis championship in Abuja where they got to the second and third rounds. At the Under 16 Supreme Tennis Championship at Ibadan, one of the wards won the event.
Speaking at the exhibition match held at the Akure Recreation Club where the First Lady of Ondo State, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akerdeolu, received the winners and gave gifts to the Junior Tennis club members. She encouraged the winners to continue to work hard in order to remain at the top of their game. And to those who are yet to start winning, she admonished them to also work hard.
According to her, the initiative started off as a joke but with the results coming in, it has become pertinent that the trainees are equipped to be the best.
It would be recalled that the clinic attracted former Wimbledon icon Nduka Odizor, for Nigerian female tennis whizkid Mrs Rolake Olagbegi-Kassim as well as African sprint queen, Chief Mary Onyali a well as the coach of sensational Marylove Edwards in the peron of Kayode Savage.
Mrs. Akeredolu who also expressed satisfaction at the progress made so far by the athletes promised to adequately reward excellence emphasising that the initiative is citizen-driven.
While urging the parents not to relent in encouraging their wards to come out for trainings, she further affirmed that tennis trains a child to be disciplined. “If you take this sport seriously, you will conquer the world. For some of them, this is the first time they are travelling to other parts of the country and this gives them the opportunity to inter relate with others from other background”, she added.
The State Coach for the team, Kasali Adeyemi, used the opportunity to thank Arabirin Akeredolu for the initiative stressing that it is a monumental achievement on her part as she has equipped the young talents to be in a position to face the future with their acquired skills.
Mr. Adeyemi who acknowledged that the initiative was the first of its kind in Nigeria later presented the winning teams to the First Lady, noting that it was indeed remarkable that in their first appearances at major competition, the athletes have been emerging winners and some even went as far as making it to the semi-finals.
The winner of the U-16 Championship, Omolade Aderemi, expressed gratitude for being a part of Arabinrin Junior Tennis Club.
Reacting to the feat of Miss Aderemi, the Executive Director (Technical) of Nigeria Sports Development Fund Inc (NSDFI), Chief Mary Onyali said, from the next school term our project, the ‘Let’s go, Girls!’ initiative will fund her school fees for two sessions. If she sustains her current hardwork, we shall take up the responsibilities longer. This is to highlight that we appreciate our role from the beginning of the programme.
Chief Onyali, who spoke from America, congratulated Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu for following up with the training of the children who attended the tennis clinic. She is our pride. We are very proud of her.”
Five other girls on the tennis project will enjoy scholarship support as long as they show excellence. It is our vision to support as many girls in sports with educational assistance that can help them become greater than the five former internationals behind the initiative.
She revealed that the ‘Let’s go, Girls!’initiative is propelled by herself, Funke Oshonaike, Blessing Okagbare, Chief Ruth Ogbeifo-Balofin and Chief Chioma Ajunwa.