The Chevon Junior Tennis Development Program kicked off in Warri, last December, with a tennis clinic and enlightenment talk aimed at giving the young ones a little more than tennis skills.
The aim of the program is to enable the participants develop basic tennis skills, information that will enable them take up the sport for recreational purposes or competitions and knowledge to follow the game at the highest level. Additionally, they get tips on how to succeed in life and be good citizens.
The program run by the International Tennis Academy, covers five target cities — Warri Lagos, Akure, Port Harcourt/Yenegoa and Abuja.
About 160 young aspiring tennis players between the ages of 12 and 16, took part in the 3-day holiday Tennis Clinic at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club in Onikan.
The program which had earlier held in Warri, Delta state is slated to tour 5 cities in Nigeria, which includes Rivers, Bayelsa, Lagos and Abuja, with an objective to introduce the game to beginners at least a hundred children at a time.
“First they have to take training [lessons], from there they have to play competitions, from that competitions, they have to learn how to improve themselves. It gives them more chances as they are starting early, with good coaches, they have confidence to play the game” Coach Romanus Nwazu said.
The director of the International Tennis Academy, Godwin Kienka has lauded the progress that has been made so far and has shown admirable commitment towards further development.
“The five major strokes of tennis—serve, forehand, backhand, volley and overhead—were taught in the session and all the places we’ve gone so far, they can tell you that, and they can all demonstrate that and they can all attempt to play that. That for us, is a great step forward,” Kienka said. “We have taken note of where they live, the nearest tennis court to them, the nearest coach to them. We recommend coaches and facilities they can go to, to improve their game.”
The participants had the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of the game and also how to appreciate the game, follow the game, play it, either for recreation or competition, with a number of them stating how far they have come with the learning process.
“I have studied how to serve, how to volley and all those stuff. It was so fun.” Gideon Edem, a participant, said.
Another participant, Abu Sodiq Hamidat, stated: “I learnt how to serve, before i don’t know how to do anything, but now, i know how to serve backhand.”
“I learnt about how to play and smash, i don’t know how to plat before, but now i can. I’d come here and train more if i want to be a Tennis player in the future.” Ibrahim Bilasemi said.
Akure, the capital of Ondo state is next from 9-11 January.
The progaram will reach a climax with the Chevron Junior Tennis Championship in March.