The minister of youth and sports development, Sunday Dare, thrilled by the performance of Nigerian young stars at the maiden Sapetro Futures Tennis Championship, has promised to put the Yakubu sisters, Oiza and Ohunene, and Marylove Edwards on the Ministry’s sponsorship list.
He also promised to reach out to the governors of Oyo and Ekiti States to send the two most outstanding junior tennis talents in the country, Ganiyu Mubarak (Oyo) and Seun Ogunsakin (Ekiti) to tennis academies abroad.m
Edwards and Oiza, 16-year-old respectively, are already ranked number two and five in the seniors and have been precluded from playing in the ITA Junior Tennis Circuit.
Dare, who watched Ohunene, 13, overcome spirited effort from 14 -year old Success Ogunjobi to win the Girls 16s event 9-2, commended the partnership that has been struck by the sponsors Sapetro and the International Tennis Academy.
“This sponsorship, if it continues, will have a tremendous impact on the development of tennis in Nigeria,” Dare stated.
According to the Minister, the glory and future successes of Nigeria in sports lie in her youth.
“We had our focus when we came in, we said grassroots sports development was critical and embedded in that grassroots sports development is ‘Talent Hunt’.”
“Hunting for those talents and supporting them. That is why this is very important and I make it a point of duty to attend tournaments of this nature that have very young people. The future of Sports is in the young people.
“As we speak, under our Talent Hunt programme, we have almost a dozen young people between the ages of 8-12. I have seen some of them in action today and was really impressed and happy with them and they will very soon start a programme working through the federations.”
In conclusion, Mr. Sunday Dare revealed that about two or three more outstanding talents in tennis spotted at the Championships will join the Talent Hunt programme of the Ministry immediately.