..seeks parents’ support for sustainability, as 4th edition kicks off
The First Lady of Ondo State and Founder of Ondo State Summer Tennis clinic, Chief Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, has described the sporting initiative as a ground to identify talented children, which should be sustained beyond the current administration.
According to her, the Summer Tennis clinic for children between ages 4-13years, is an avenue to catch them young and develop their interest in the game; while charging parents to follow through, rather than leaving its sustainability for her alone; saying it’s not a government’s sponsored Programme.
She said this at the opening ceremony of the 4th edition of the Summer Tennis clinic, held at Akure Recreational centre, Oke-Eda.
The Ondo First Lady hinted that Tennis is her family favourite game which they did organise for their children in Ibadan through which other neighbors indicated interest and they collaboratively formed Tennis club, and had produced so many grown up talents there.
She asserted that with the emergence of the summer Tennis Clinic, a ground has been watered for parents whose children have potential, as it had birthed Arabinrin Junior Tennis club where discovered talents were being groomed to become future tennis champions.
She, therefore, enjoined parents to take a step further to bring out the best in their children by contributing to the development of the initiative, rather than expecting free participation, always.
Earlier in her welcome address, the wife of the Deputy Governor, Mrs Oluwaseun Aiyedatiwa, who was the Chairman planning committee of the event, had disclosed that 945 kids have so far participated in the trainings which started in 2017.
For this year edition, Mrs Aiyedatiwa who was represented by the immediate past Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Women Mobilisation (South), Major Morenike Alaka, said: “We are targeting over 400 kids in this 4th Edition. We have two different age group participants, 4-7 years of age and 8-13 years of age.
“Some of the children that were trained here under this initiative are making Arabinrin, their coaches, Ondo State and Nigeria proud in different tennis competitions.
“Olamilekan Moses, Imole Adisa, Henry Aina, Peace Agbeje, Dayan Rahman all had participated in the CBN JUNIOR- 3 times, KADUNA JUNIOR PLAY COURT, CHEVRON/NNPC, PLAY YOUR AGE IN ABUJA and ADO EKITI SOUTH WEST JUNIOR.
“Arabinrin, through this project has helped to build the capacity of these young ones in long tennis and today, we are all proud of them”.
The Chairman of the occasion, Mr Jimi Odimayo commended the initiative, saying that the decision to discover young Talents was borne out of the love of the First Lady to see Ondo State becoming a Tennis hub in Nigeria.
He said: “Arabinrin continues to leave a trail of many life-impacting programs for the people of Sunshine state, especially the lucky young ones who are the leaders of tomorrow. With her ingenuity, she has given us various programs all aimed at improving the lives of ordinary citizens and lifting the downtrodden”.
Odimayo, who affirmed that Tennis game could make them wealthy, said its role in generating Social capital is undeniable and remains untapped in Nigeria.
Stressing the need to encourage sports development among youths in order to raise future champions, the Chairman of the opening ceremony called on well-meaning individuals in Ondo State to support the First Lady, by sponsoring the summer clinic.
The annual Summer Tennis clinic birthed ‘Arabinrin Junior Tennis Club’, which serves as an avenue to groom children who were discovered through the clinic, some of who are now representing the state in national tournaments.
The event was organised by the Office of the First Lady in collaboration with Akure Recreation Club.