Winners Of CBN Open Tennis Emerged
The 40th Edition of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Senior Open Tennis Championship, which featured 300 players, ended this weekend in Abuja.
In the women’s category, the defending champion and Nigeria’s No 1, Adegoke Sarah came from behind to defeat Agugbom Christie 4-6, 7-5, 6-0 to retain her title.
However, in the men’s singles final, Babalola Abdulmumuni was unable to defend the title he won in 2017, losing 6-3, 7-6, 6-4 to Emmanuel Sylvester in a keenly contested encounter.
Speaking to KFM Online Sports, Emmanuel Sylvester, who now joins the list of CBN Senior Open Tennis Champions, thanked God for seeing him through the competition, having defeated the Nigeria Tennis Federation’s top seed, Joseph Imeh, in the quarter finals.
“I played very good tennis and it worked for me, I thank God for that.
“I was happy to defeat my opponent (Babalola) in our third encounter today; it was not easy winning this tournament but I thank God for His blessings,” he said.
Similarly, Adegoke Sarah who retained her title, heaved a sigh of relief. She said,
“ I’m relieved now of all tensions, even if you are down, you should never give up.
“It was a game of tennis, anything can happen. Initially, I was not getting my rhythm. I had to tell myself `calm down’.
“My opponent is a really good player, she played her A-game today and I am very happy that I did not let down.’’
However, Babalola and Agugbom still went home with trophies playing in the men’s and women’s doubles.
Babalola paired with Lawal Shehu to defeat Nonso Madueke and Henry Atseye 6-2, 6-3.
While, Agugbom Christie and Blessing Samuel defeated Rose Abu and Bukola Olowu 6-2, 6-1.
The physically challenged were also not left out of the competition, as Alex Adewale defeated Wasiu Yusuf in the men’s Wheelchair singles final 6-1, 6-1, while Chituru Nwaozuzu lost to Kafayat Omisore 1-6, 3-6 in the women’s category.
Alex Adewale defeated Wasiu Yusuf in the men’s Wheelchair singles final 6-1, 6-1, while Kafayat Omisore humbled Chituru Nwaozuzu 6-1, 6-3 in finals of women’s wheelchair singles.
In a remark, the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, Mr. Edward Adamu, said the total money spent on the competition was over N11m.
According to the Governor, the money covers all categories including cash prizes for winners in the male and female wheelchair categories. For the men’s and women’s singles finals, winners will pocket N700,000 naira each.
‘About 300 players from across the country registered for this year’s Championship. The number is indeed impressive and it goes to show the interest in professional tennis and the standard of play on the court is a reflection of the dedication of the players to the game of tennis in Nigeria’ he added.
He however reiterated the Apex bank’s commitment to tennis development in the country.
‘I want to assure you that the CBN Senior Open Tennis Championship has come to stay and would remain a major sporting event in the calendar of events of the Nigeria Tennis Federation’ he said
The President, Nigeria Tennis Federation, Mr. Ifedayo Akindoju, thanked the CBN for sponsoring the event over the year. He called for more sponsors to enable the Federation to increase the number of tennis competitions in the country.
“I am happy for successful conclusion of this 40th edition of CBN open, which is the first to be hosted by our board.
“More tournaments are going to come up this year through the board’s efforts which will further develop the game of tennis in the country.
“We will continue to appeal to CBN and other supporting sponsors of the game so that an academy can be established which will greatly influence our global performance in not distant future,” he said.
Among those that graced the occasion was Kehinde Ajayi, the first winner of the tournament and Veronika Iwebema (NeeOyibokia), a seven-time winner.
The CBN Opens and Dala Hard Court are the two national tournaments currently organized by the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF) to rank its players.