The fourth edition of the SNEPCo Junior Tennis Championship, a tournament for youngsters, which is organized by the International Tennis Academy features competition in four age categories – boys and girls 10s, 12s, 14s and 16s.
The tournament which served off on Tuesday, 22 May has reached its business end. On Thursday, however, the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung, paid a surprise visit to the youngsters, who were in action at the Tennis Center of the National Stadium in Lagos.
The Minister’s visit came whilst play was underway in the quarterfinal matches, and the players, stunned, scurried to join the Minister in a group photo and a mini rally with one of the players, followed.
“You should take every opportunity to develop your skills to be the best you can be,” the Minister said, while addressing the players. “You need self belief, hard work, discipline, respect for your opponents, coaches and elders to succeed”
A major upset was however, recorded in the quarterfinals of the event same day as the defending champion of the 12 and Under category, Ganiyu Mubarak of Oyo State was beaten by unseeded Olubuade Samod of Lagos 9-6.
In the Girls’ 16 and Under, the top four seeds, Toyin Asogba, Favour Moses, Omolade Aderemi and Omolayo Bamidele, unsurprisingly advanced to the semifinals, while Iye Onoja of Abuja and Serena Teluwo remain on course for a crunch clash in the finals of the Girls’ 14 and Under category.
The semifinal matches will take place today, Friday at the National Stadium in Surulere, while the grand finale will hold at the Ikoyi Club on Saturday, 26 May.