21 May 2014, Lagos – The inaugural Midwestern Oil & Gas Junior Tennis Championship has ended in Lagos with a song for the Chibok girls by Ghanaian gospel artist Jemimah Amua.
A thousand school children and a large tennis crowd were on hand to listen to the powerful rendition of “Hold On” from her CD released a week ago and to watch the future of Nigerian tennis on display.
The highlight of the grand finale of a championship that attracted 20 first-timers and 158 players was an exhibition match between London-based Elizabeth Pam,16, runner-up at the CBN Senior Championship and Sarah Adegoke, now 16, a semifinalist this year and runner-up in 2012.
Adegoke lost to Pam in three sets at the CBN Senior championship but got some measure of revenge by winning the only set 6-3.
However, given the fascinating tennis they played, no one was left in doubt that a new generation of tennis players was ready to take over the mantle.
Their performance was matched by the Boys 10 finalists who took to the court right after and surprised the spectators with their skill level. Sadiq Kushima from Abeokuta prevailed in the end beating Samuel Adeleye from Ekiti 9-8.
Christopher Itodo, 15, from Kaduna won the Boys 16 coming from 2-5 behind to beat Olumide Ayoola of Lagos 9-5 while Usman Kushima made it a family double by overwhelming Elvis Osibor from Benin 9-1 in the Boys 12.
The most outstanding player award for the boys went to Gabriel Friday of Kaduna who won the Boys 14 by overcoming Hadi Ojoye from Abeokuta 9-6. Victoria Adah Baje from Kogi, a semifinalist in the Girls 12 was awarded the most outstanding player for girls for her remarkable improvement since the last ITA Junior Circuit tournament in February.
Prodigious tennis talent, Marylove Edwards, was moved up to the 16s from her 12 and under category because organisers considered her too good for her age group. Edwards who had reached the last round of qualifying at the senior CBN proved organisers right by winning the final match against fellow Lagosian, Toyin Asoba 9-1. Kasara Adegboyega from Ibadan took the girls 12 winners trophy edging out Peace Udoh of Lagos 9-5.
The tournament is part of the ITA Junior Tennis Circuit run by the International Tennis Academy.