The 2018 edition of the annual Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Tennis League Cup teed off at the Abuja National Stadium on Saturday.
The tournament, which has been running since 2015, is an International Tennis Academy (ITA) championship sponsored by the NCC.
Declaring the tournament open at the tennis court of the Abuja National Stadium, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the NCC, Umar Dambatta, assured tennis stakeholders that the Commission would continue to support the event.
Represented by Inatimi Spiff, Deputy Director, Corporate Planning and Strategy of the Commission, the EVC stressed that the tournament has yielded positive results among Nigerian youths since its commencement.
“This is the fourth year that we are having this tournament and we are pleased to continue to sponsor it, because of the result it has yielded.
“Everyone is a winner and we advise the players to use this as a platform to further sharpen their skills,” Dambatta said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NCC Tennis League Cup will be played in 12 venues across the six geopolitical zones of the country.
Delivering her goodwill message at the opening ceremony, a representative of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, Hauwa-Kulu Akinyemi, praised the effort of the NCC and encouraged other institutions to emulate the Commission’s gesture.
“This competition has been taken to 12 venues in the six geopolitical zones, which means youths in those areas have been empowered.
“I want to appeal to other institutions to support sports development because this competition shows that sports can be used to empower our youths,” Akinyemi, a director in the ministry, said.
The NCC Tennis League Cup is a team-based tournament in four categories: men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles and women’s doubles.
NAN also reports that a total of 23 million naira prize money is up for grabs in this year’s tournament, with the overall best team smiling home with the sum of seven million naira.
The runners up and third-placed teams will earn five million and three million naira, respectively, while the fourth-placed team will be rewarded with two million naira.
Speaking at the event, Dayo Akindoju, President of the Nigeria Tennis Federation, also commended the NCC, while urging other well-meaning bodies to come on board and support the discovery of sports talents for the nation.
“The NCC Cup is one of the biggest tennis events in Nigeria. We are grateful to the Commission for encouraging our youths and for discovering talents for the federation.
“We hope other institutions will emulate what the NCC is doing for sports development,” Akintoju said.
In the opening matches decided at the Centre Court of the Abuja National Stadium on Saturday, Imeh Joseph of Team Tech Vibes defeated Oparaoji Ude of Team Goshen 6-3, 6-3.
Joseph’s teammate, Thomas Otu also overpowered Emmanuel Sunday of Goshen 7-6, 6-4.
In the women’s game, Tech Vibes’ Aanu Ayegbusi dispersed Goshen’s Blessing Samuel 6-2, 6-4 to advance to the next round of the tournament. (NAN)