The CBN Junior Tennis Championship serves off on Monday, 29 April, with youngsters from all over the country set to battle for honours.
The tournament, which is designed to serve as a feeder to the senior championship, will hold from 29th April – 4th May. Matches will be played at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, with the exception of the finals, which will be contested at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan.
The CBN Junior Championship was first introduced in 2007 by the Central Bank of Nigeria in a bid to ensure that young stars are discovered and developed early. The players will compete in different age grades, with the tournament featuring Boys’ and Girls’ Under-10, Under-12, Under-14 and Under-16 categories. All teams/states are entitled to one player per category, while any additional player must have the approval of the organizers. The participating teams have been advised to hold pre-tournament trials so as to broaden the competition and fast track the development process.
The youngsters are expected to arrive in Lagos on Monday, 29th April for a thorough screening exercise at the National Stadium in Surulere, where players found to be above the age limits will be immediately disqualified. The organizers have also implored the teams that players should be checked and treated for malaria fever before leaving their bases, as whoever turns up with the illness risks being banned for one year. The players have been asked to bring along some warm clothing, like tracksuits, so as to combat the effects of the rainy season.
The screening process also requires that any player who has not played in previous editions of the CBN Junior Championship must bring along two years of Primary School and one year of Secondary School results.
Trophies, medals and kits are among the prizes to be won. Last year, Precious Ikeuba and Seun Ogunsakin, both of whom represented Nigeria at the AJC 12 and Under Finals qualifiers in Cotonou last month, finished as champion and runner-up, respectively, in the Boys 10 & Under category.
Nene Yakubu emerged winner of the girls category.
Imole Afolabi won the girls 10 & Under category, while Ganiyu Mubarak won the boys category. All these players, amongst other winners, are expected to feature in this year’s event, which will have also an award for the Most Outstanding Player in both the male and female categories.