Patrick Selepe, who’s an official with the Tennis South Africa and Wheelchair Tennis Development, is in Abuja on assignment for the International Tennis Federation to inspect the tennis facilities at the National Tennis Centre in Abuja and ascertain its suitability for wheelchair tennis players.
The PUMA Engineering Wheelchair Open is currently underway in Abuja, with players from around Africa in action and Mr. Selepe says he’s impressed with what he’s seen as regards the facilities.
“I’m really impressed I’m not going to lie to you,” Selepe said “The way the courts are set up and the way the club is, the bigger space for the lounge because that’s what you need the most if you are having more players to chill in the lounge. I think we can host events here.”
The South African revealed that the aim for the inspection is to see if more events can be hosted in Abuja, specially, the Wheelchair Tennis African Qualifier.
“The main reason I’m here is to focus on the Wheelchair Tennis African Qualifier,” the South African said. “Not sure which year yet, they are thinking it can come here, that is the start of the event that can come here. We can also have ITF 2 here too.”
Based on the quality of the tennis facilities, Selepe says there’s a very high possibility of Nigeria hosting the African Qualifier. “9 out of 10,” he said, on a scale of 1-10.
“There’s not too much to be changed. There’s some bathroom that needs to be adjusted, other than that it’s accessible to get to all the tennis courts, but if you have a bigger event, you’d need accessibility to about 12 tennis courts. That’s just what needs to be done.
“There’s a lot of trees, there’s a lot of shelter, it’s natural that you can chill and watch a lot of matches,” he added.
The wheelchair tennis African qualifier is for the World Team Cup. Earlier in the year, The African qualifier was hosted in Nairobi, Kenya, and Israel hosted the World Team Cup.