The President of the Nigeria Tennis Federation, Engineer Dayo Akindoju has revealed the Federation’s plans for Junior Tennis in the 2019 season.
The Federation seeks to have a substantial number of weeks for ITF junior tournaments, however, that goal is being thwarted by tennis’s governing body, the ITF. Akindoju says the Federation is bent on making sure the ITF approves of it with talks still ongoing.
“We are fighting with [the] ITF now, because out of the 9 weeks [of juniors tournaments] we applied for, so far only one week in July has been approved,” the President said. “And we’re telling them no, that it is not acceptable. We’ve written them back and we are following that up.”
While a follow-up with the ITF is underway, mechanisms have already been put in place for the development of the young ones.
“Our key concentration is on junior tournaments, junior programs, reintroducing the games to schools. We shall be distributing equipment a lot to schools [primary schools]. We are procuring a thousand rackets and we are going to be distributing them to tennis centres all over Nigeria. By tennis centres, I mean places where tennis is played or where facilities are basically available [the ones that are existing and the ones that will come up].”
While there were talks about the introduction of Beach Tennis in Nigeria and the country’s level of preparedness towards the forthcoming 1st African Beach Games (see story), the President also outlined the Federation’s plans for wheelchair tennis in the country.
“In the wheelchair department, we are also going to make some major developments,” he disclosed.
“We are going to be buying 10 additional wheelchairs, we are going to be running a lot of wheelchair clinics in Kano and Minna, which are both settled for now. We are going to the East in Owerri to do some clinics later this year on wheelchair.”
In 2013, the CBN Open added the wheelchair singles as a category to its yearly events. In November last year, the Nigerian team excelled at the Puma ITF Wheelchair Tennis Futures in Abuja, with Alex Adewale and Kafayat Omisore clinching the men’s and women’s title. Adewale and double Paralympian Wasiu Yusuf also claimed the doubles title.
The Nigerian team participated in the World Team Cup Qualification event in Nairobi, Kenya this month, but missed out on qualifying, after having previously qualified for the World Cup team event in 2012 (Turkey) and 2014 (Holland).