The truism that “behind every sports star is a team and that team begins with the parents” is significantly at play at the Sapetro Junior Futures Championship where many parents have travelled from far and near to encourage their wards to excel.
The second edition of the championship which served off at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club Tuesday saw six mothers, a grand mum and four fathers attending. One of the mothers, Mrs Omolade Edwards, mother of current national female No.1, Marylove Edwards has a son David playing in the boys 14s.
“We want our children (Marylove and David) to become successful professionals and we will do all in our power to encourage them,” Mrs Edwards said.
David, watched by mum and big sister Marylove, however, lost a closely contested opening round robin match against Seyi Ogunsakin from Ekiti State who has just moved up to the 14s.
Another tennis mum, Judith Amassiani travelled all the way from Abuja with her two sons Chidubem and Chibuikem, who are reigning champions in the boys 12s and 10s respectively in the ITA Junior Tennis Circuit. Mrs Amassiani says she wants to help the children along and see where their talent will take them.
The men were not left out as Jude Osaji from Lagos is personally guiding three of his children – Tochi 14, Ndidi 12 and Malcolm 11 – through their junior tennis development phase while Tunde Agunbiade from Calabar has a daughter Toluwase 14 and a son Damilola 12 competing at the tournament.
A former national champion, Mumuni Babalola is also at the championship with his 10-year-old daughter, Blessing.
This support from parents who invest time and money to see their wards excel in sports bodes well for sports development generally in Nigeria” Godwin Kienka, Director of the International Tennis Academy, organisers of the championship said.
The tournament continues Wednesday with round robin matches which guarantees each participant a minimum of three matches.