Junior tennis players from Ekiti made their coach Wunmi Ogunshakin walk really tall at the grand finale of the 2018 SNEPCo Junior Tennis Championship, which took place at the Ikoyi Club Lagos over the weekend. The Ekiti students took five out of the eight titles at stake.
The victory train was led by Ogunshakin’s 10 year-old son, Seun, who cried his heart out when he lost in the finals of Boys’ 10 to Precious Ikeuba from Port Harcourt in the title match of the CBN Juniors two months ago. Against the same player in the SNEPCo finals, the young lad, popularly called “Nadal” because of his left handed top spins, overwhelmed Ikeuba winning 9-3.
The three other titles came from Omolayo Bamidele, who won her first title on the ITA Junior Circuit by beating Omolade Aderemi 9-1 in the Girls’ 16 finals. Bamidele also got the “most outstanding female player” award having edged the No.1 seed, Toyin Asogba, in the semifinals. Daniel Adeleye completely overpowered Joshua Maxwell from Port Harcourt with a 9-0 thrashing, while Faith Adeusi also defeated little Favour Amaechi from Port Harcourt 9-0.The fifth title for Team Ekiti came from Esther Oni, who defeated Imole Afolabi from Oyo 9-3.
The Boy’s 12 event was won by unseeded Olubuade Samod of Lagos, who edged Joseph Jimoh also from Lagos 9-8, while Iye Onoja from Kaduna, made a successful come-back after a one-year absence by easily winning the Girls’ 14 against Mary Udofa from Kogi State 9-3.
The final match of the championship, the Boys’ 16, lived up to the billing as Wilson Igbinovia, a scion of the famous Igbinovia tennis family, displayed some typical power game to win the Boys’ 16 against a resilient David Dawariye from Rivers. The young Igbinovia, who beat Dawariye 9-4, also won the “most outstanding male player” of the tournament.
The grand finale, which was well attended, was, as is usual with the International Tennis Academy run events, spiced with side attractions. There was a ballet dance display by seven year-old, budding tennis player Ethel Jimoh, as well as a choreography by the Cash D’dance troupe.
In his remarks, the managing director of SNEPCo, Bayo Ojulari, who was represented by Debo Oladunjoye, said SNEPCo was committed to continuing with sponsorships like these that serve to engage and empower the youth in Nigeria. Mr. Oladunjoye listed other interventions SNEPCo had carried out and commended the International Tennis Academy for the vision and commendable organisation of the event.