By Emmanuel Afonne
No fewer than 300 tennis players will be competing in the 2018 edition of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Senior Open Tennis Championship scheduled to hold from June 21 to June 30, in Abuja.
President, Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF), Mr Ifedayo Akindoju said at a press briefing in Abuja on Tuesday that the championship would see about 200 male and 100 female tennis players in action.
Akindoju who commended the apex bank for supporting the development of the sport in the country noted that the championship would take place at the tennis courts of the National Stadium Abuja.
“The future is bright for tennis in the country if more corporate organisations can emulate CBN at various levels of tennis development.
“NTF appreciates the support and will continue to partner with CBN so that the nation can harvest more talents that will attain international fame,” he said.
CBN’s Acting Director of Corporate Communication Mr Isaac Okoroafor said the winners in the singles category for Men and Women would pocket N700,000 each, as over N10million—total prize money, would be up for grabs.
“The runners-up in both the male and female categories will go home with N500,000 each,” he added.
Mr Okoroafor pointed out that the aim of the championship was to discover emerging tennis talents that could represent the country at major competitions in Africa and beyond.
“This event has been helping the nation to discover talents in tennis, both male and female in the last forty years, such as Kehinde Ajayi, Osaro Amadin, Veronica Oyibokia, among others.
“A number of national players that have emerged through the competition testify to its relevance in sport development.
“CBN is passionate about youth development and will continue to do that as part of our Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR).
“We really appreciate the sustained support of NTF and members of the media for their good coverage since the beginning of the championship; you are good partners in this venture,” Okoroafor said.
It would be recalled that Abdulmumuni Babalola defeated Joseph Imeh 6-4, 6-3 to win the 2017 the single’s men title, while Sarah Adegoke humbled Mary Love 6-0, 6-3 to clinch the female title.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Abdulmumuni and Imeh are currently representing Nigeria at the DAVIS Cup in Kenya.