By Annang Bako
Kaduna (Nigeria) — No fewer than 100 players are participating in the 10th edition of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Junior tennis Championship holding in Kaduna.
An official, Isaac Okorafor, told Journalist that the competition is to discover young talents and nurtured them to limelight while establishing a strong transition platform for senior category.
He said the competition is expected to hold from May 23-28 and is open to boys and girls between the ages of 10 and 18 at the Murtala Mohammed Square Tennis court Kaduna.
He added that the winners in the 16s and 18s categories are expected to contest in the CBN Senior Open Tennis Championship.
Okorafor added that the competition will provide a platform that would attract and enable junior players from all over the country compete and showcase their talents.
“This competition will provide a structure that would allow the junior players compete at early age and transit from the junior to the senior category.
“CBN also sponsors the senior category of the tennis championship which is also a major event organised by the Nigeria Tennis Federation in Conjunction with the CBN.
“This Junior tournament is therefore design to serve as a feeder to the senior championship.
According to him, the management have recorded success in the junior championship as players from the CBN Junior circuit have always represented the country in the African tennis championship and other international competitions.
They are already challenging the senior players in the CBN senior open tennis championship.
It is worthy of note that in the current national rankings, we have eight players who have gone through this circuit in the top 12 with the first five enjoying the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) ranking and they are; Christain Paul, Moses Micheal, Thomas Otu, Sylvester Emmanuel, Joseph Imeh, Mohammed Mohammed, Sunday Emmanuel and Emmanuel Idoko.
He said the junior players have dominated the West African Junior Circuit in both boys and girls categories and are now set to challenge South African counterparts.
“We hope that as more junior players take advantage of the CBN junior circuit, we shall produce larger pool of talents.
He called on organisations to take up challenge of sports development in the country by sponsoring other sports.
“With our young players making such remarkable transition to the senior category, we hope other organisations would also take up the challenge of sports development in the country.
“With improved and continuous sponsorship, the country will not only excel in the sport but to provide tremendous engagement and empowerment opportunities for our youths.
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Daniel Danauta appreciate the cooperation of the CBN in sponsoring the championship adding that they have contributed to grassroot development of sports in the state.
He said the events have brought success in the state adding more talents will be discovered this year.