It was fanfare at Fanlot Comprehensive High School, Abule Egba, Lagos on Monday when teenage female tennis rising star, Marylove Edwards, was unveiled to her fellow students as part of efforts to encourage youths aiming for success in sports and other career paths.
The event, put together by a talent management outfit, Temple Management Company, began with a short film on Marylove’s exploits so far in her tennis career.
After the film, the organisers said they decided to manage the 11-year-old Marylove because they saw the talent in her and believed that she would blossom if she were given the right atmosphere to develop.
Head of Sports, Temple Management Company, Koye Sowemimo, said spotting and grooming young talents in any field is the cardinal objectives of the company, adding that Marylove’s achievements as the sixth best U-14 star in Africa deserve more encouragement.
“Temple Company spotted Marylove at the Surulere Stadium in one of the youth tennis championships, where her power, courage and understanding of the tricks in lawn tennis grabbed our attention.
“Since we have been working with her and her parents, Marylove has won many laurels. Her ability to also beat boys in some of her matches, based on her power and determination to succeed in tennis, gives the company hope that she would one day be a force to reckon with in tennis.
“Marylove started playing tennis when she was eight years old. We decided to unveil her to show other students that they can also be stars in any area they desire. We are planning to send Marylove to Florida U.S.A. to attend one of the best Tennis Academies in the World.
“The likes of Serena and Venus Williams attended the academy. She just returned from a junior tennis championship in Kenya and one of the problems she faced was playing on a clay court, which she is not used to. Taking her to the academy would give her the much needed exposure to play in all the different types of court,” she added.
Sowemimo, who regretted that no Nigerian female player has ever played at the grand slam, said that Temple is working hard to ensure Marylove attained such remarkable heights in future.
“We would be with her for the next five years. We also employ the private sector to support the company in the area of sponsorship,” he said.
While savouring the support from Temple Management and some of her fans, who came to be part of the event, Marylove said her desire to play in the grand slam in future and outshine Serena Williams’ records remains her major target.