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Building courts for future stars

The event is the 23rd edition of the African Junior Tennis Championship which holds in the nation’s capital city of Abuja. The championship will dunk…

The event is the 23rd edition of the African Junior Tennis Championship which holds in the nation’s capital city of Abuja.

The championship will dunk off March 29 through April 14 at the magnificent Abuja National Stadium.

The African tennis event is coming four months after the successful hosting of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in November last year, which was staged in eight Nigerian cities of Abuja, Lagos, Bauchi, Kano, Ijebu Ode, Calabar, Kaduna and Enugu.

Like the cadet world Cup fiesta, the tennis championship is for under-aged tennis players, who will battle for honours in three categories; U-14, U-16 and U-18.

Already with four tennis courts, the Federal Government has embarked on the construction of additional tennis courts to meet the requirements of staging the event.

A visit at the tennis courts at Package B of the Abuja National Stadium shows massive construction work on no fewer than twelve tennis courts, while additional space has been cleared for the construction of more courts.

Sports Minister, Engr. Sani Ndanusa, said at a recent function in Abuja that Nigeria needs additional seventeen tennis courts to meet the 21 courts standard required by Confederation of African Tennis (CAT) to stage the event.

Like the football facilities used at the Nigeria 1999 FIFA U-20 World Cup and the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup, the tennis facilities will become useful to tennis players in the country after the tournament.

The tournament on its own will boost the game’s patronage and practise among Nigerians youths, who might have learnt some tricks and techniques during the three weeks fiesta.   

With the speed at which the contractors are going with the job, there is high expectation that work will be completed on the project on time for the biggest junior tennis event in Africa.

At least, the concrete floor for eight of the tennis courts have been laid, while the perimeter fencing and sitting terraces and being  constructed to be fixed in the next few days.

A member of the Local Organizing Committee for the fiesta, Tony Ohaeri told Tennis World that the committee has made adequate arrangement, including provision of facilities for the 28 countries that have confirmed their participation for the continental tennis showpiece.

Ohaeri informed that top African tennis countries have confirmed their participation for event which is aimed at developing the game in the continent.

He added that the tennis championship is top on the calendar of Confederation of African Tennis (CAT), which is why host countries are made to provide standard and adequate facilities for the youths to compete on.

“Most of the top tennis playing countries in Africa have written to confirm that they will be here for the championship, and Nigeria is also working hard to stage a successful and hitch free championship”, Ohaeri stated.

When our reporter visited the tennis courts at the Abuja National Stadium last Wednesday, observed that, he observed that massive construction work was going on no fewer than fourteen tennis courts in preparation for the coming African Junior Tennis Championship later this month.


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