By Ezeocha Nzeh
About 250 Tennis stars have registered for 42nd edition of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Senior Open Tennis Championship, which serves off today in Abuja.
Speaking at a press conference to herald the elite annual Tennis championship, CBN ‘s Acting Director of Corporate Communication, Mr Osita Nwanisobi said the objective of the Senior Open Tennis Championship “remains to ensure that young talents are given a veritable platform to represent the nation at International Tennis Tournaments”.
He observed that over time the championship has helped in no small measures to in talking youths off the streets, with a sizeable number of the players progressing to win continental and international laurels.
The championship has also served as the tipping point in a conveyor belt of emerging tennis talents in the nation’s circuits, launching them to the international arena.
Mr Nwanisobi said CBN involvement with the sport goes beyond the elite circuits.
“The CBN is collaborating with the International Tennis Academy, and also sponsors the junior category of the tennis tournament (otherwise known as the CBN Junior Tennis Championship) which is open to boys and girls in four age groups of 10, 12, 14 and 16.
“This is designed to serve as a feeder to the Senior Championship, which is open to Men and Ladies from age 18 and above.
The Management of the Bank continues to note, with great pleasure, the steady development and success recorded in the championships as players from the CBN Junior Competition have always represented Nigeria in the African Junior Tennis Championships and other international competitions. On the other hand, players from the CBN Senior Open Tennis Championships have gone on to be selected by the Nigerian Tennis Federation to represent the nation at International Tournaments such as the Davis Cup, All African Games and Pro-Circuit Tournament amongst others.
He also expressed joy that the competition is returning after the initial disruption by COVID -19 pandemic adding that event be hosted under strict compliance with COVID protocols.
Earlier in his remarks, President of Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF) Dayo Akindoju showered praises on the CBN for its steadfast support for 42 years
He said the apex regulatory bank has sustained prize money for men and women ,ensuring keen competition among the sexes.
According to him winners of the men and ladies singles events will go home with N700,000 . Juicy prizes were also put up for runners up, semi, 4th, and the rounds . In fact, prize money for first round losers have also been raised from N10,000 to N35,000.
The 10- day championship ends on November 14th.