Team Nigeria secured one gold and two silver medals at the African Junior Championship team event in Lome, Togo.
The Boys’ 16 and Under team defeated Cameroon 2-1 in the final to clinch gold, while the Girls’ 16 & Under team narrowly missed out to host nation, Togo and settled for Silver. The Girls’ 14 & Under team also secured Silver after finishing as runner-up in their group.
The Boys’ 16 & Under team led by Matthew Abamu, Usman Kushimo and Mukhtar Andu came into the final on the back of a brilliant run. However, the team failed to assert dominance early on, with Matthew Abamu losing the 1st singles 1-6, 3-6 to Paul Wamba. Kushimo, however, got the team back on level terms with a gritty performance, recovering from a disappointing start to beat Jonathan Atana 0-6, 6-2, 6-0.
The tie came down to the final rubber, the doubles, and Nigeria’s duo of Abamu and Andu put up a brilliant showing to stun Paul Wamba and Atana 6-3, 4-6, 11-9 and secure gold for Nigeria. The result also means the Boys’ U16 team has sealed qualification for the AJC U16 event in Tunis, which will hold in April.
In the Girls’ 16 & Under, meanwhile, team Nigeria was edged by the Togolese 2-1. Marylove Edwards lost to Vania Dotse 0-6, 4-6, while Rebecca Ekpeyong fell 6-7(9-11), 6-3, 5-7 to Kekeli Adjiwanou. With Togo sealing an unassailable 2-0 lead, they opted out of the doubles match, and the tie ended 2-1 in their favour.
The International Tennis Federation will contact Nigeria as regards the Girls’ U16 and U14 teams’ qualification for the AJC event.
In the individual event which held last week, Marylove Edwards clinched Silver in the Girls’ U16 singles, while the duo of Iye Onoja and Oiza Yakubu secured Gold in the Girls U14 doubles. Youngsters, Suleiman Ibrahim and Ganiyu Mubarak claimed Silver in the Boys’ U14 doubles.
Suleiman Ibrahim also clinched Gold in the Boys U14 singles.
At the conclusion of both the individual and team events in Togo, Nigeria took second on the overall performance standings. The team arrived Lagos today, Wednesday, while British-Nigerian, Mukhtar Andu has returned to the UK.