The Ondo State Government has reinstated its commitment to make the state the hub of tennis in Nigeria. This affirmation was made at the closing ceremony of Ondo State Summer Tennis Clinic which was attended by the State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, his wife, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, Mrs. Ajewole Ajayi, Mrs Olajumoke Abena, Commissioner for Education Pastor Femi Agagu and the Commissioner for youth ad sports among others.
The Governor in his remark expressed gratitude to all the international trainers most especially Nduka Odizor, Rolake Olagbegi-Kazeem, Olajide Fashikun and Mary Onyali for taking time to be a part of the training session since it began on the 24th of August, 2017 and also to Hon. Elegbeleye for making it happen. The Governor who acknowledged that sport development is close to his heart promised to provide support when and where necessary while affirming that the project has been financially driven by the commitment of individuals.
“If you like what you are seeing today, please support us. We must concentrate on the development of our people. We must be ready to build our people. All these things were made possible through individual contribution; not a dime came from the government”.
Arabinrin Akeredolu however used the opportunity to charge stakeholders, corporate bodies and individuals to take ownership of the project as it is citizen driven.
“The benefits of catching our youths young, especially in sports cannot be over emphasized. Let us look at champions like the Williams sisters; Venue and Serena Williams, who started as young as three years and have gone on to win numerous awards and break glass ceiling, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Billie Jean king just to mention a few.”, she stressed while highlighting the way forward.
Presentation was later made by the Governor and his wife to the trainers and coaches. Also outstanding students were presented with gifts while certificates were awarded to all participating students.
Earlier, Olajide Fashiku, Director General of Nigeria Sports Development Fund Incorporated, in his remark thanked the First Lady for securing the future of Tennis in Ondo State while noting that the state will benefit from its initiative of setting up a national sport development centre.
While highlighting that the state will have six centres that will handle wrestling, tennis, weight lighting, handball and baseball among others, he assured the people of the state that the ultimate goal is to reproduce higher version of world class professional in Ondo State.
In her own remark, Rolake Kazeem (nee Olagbegi) affirmed that her dream to train children in Tennis was borne out of the need to eradicate crime in the society. She also charged the children to take advantage of the opportunity given to them while also challenging parents to ensure their children full participation. “I am praying that someday, we will have our own Serena William”
She further called for the involvement of the people, noting that the support from individuals and corporate bodies will go a long way in sustaining her vision.
The Tennis Clinic though ending has been able to identify and impact new breed of talents that would soon become champions in the nearest future.
The event witnessed an exhibition match between the Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu and his wife, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu also, the participants played many exhibition matches.