Abuja-based Chubuike Amasani screamed his way to the Boys 10 title on Saturday after surviving a scare from Adepoju Basit in the MTN Junior Tennis Champion final at Lagos Lawn Tennis Club.
Amasani, 9, who won the explosive clash 9-8, had gotten off to a good start, leading 4-1 in the pro set, as Basit, 10, cheered by club members and teammates, started a comeback that nearly closed the gap. -5.
Amasani, upset by the one-sided support and poor phone calls from the chair umpire, would occasionally cry to his mother, Judith, encouraging him to continue playing. The game was then moved to a backcourt and the referee switched.
Away from center court and a new umpire, the highly talented left-hander calmed down and saved a match point to finally take a hard-earned win.
His older brother Chukwudubem, who was celebrating his 11th birthday at the Championship, was not so lucky as Murewa Egbeyemi, one of Nigeria’s most promising junior talents, from Lagos won convincingly 9-4.
The Boys 16 defending champion Seun Ogunsakin was upset by eternal rival Mubarak Ganiyu in a hard-fought final. Ondo’s Ganiyu defeated Ogunsakin (Ekiti) 9-8.
The Girls 14 event was won by Etoro Emmanuel from Akwa Ibom, who beat Mary Iorlumun from Benue, while the Girls 12 event was won by a very confident Lorelay Holzendoff from Edo, who beat Favor Okon-James from Akwa Ibom 9-0 declined.
Holzendoff and Damilola Agunbiade won the most outstanding players for the girls and boys categories respectively.
Meanwhile, the inauguration of the Sports Performance Reward Fund in Lagos, following the tournament final, raised a total of N4.01m, bringing the total in the fund cat to over N7m.
The lead thrower at the event, Professor Wale Sulaiman, an acclaimed neurosurgeon who practices in New Orleans, Lagos and London, said he was an occasional ball boy at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club on his way back from St Gregorys College, within walking distance.
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