The management of the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club has expressed concern over the development of sport in the country and has launched a campaign that will bring about a revamp in the game.
The club’s new president, Mr. Kolade Olutekunbi, stated this during the club’s group meeting held recently at the Tawafa Balwe Square, Lagos Island.
Briefing newsmen after his elections as the newly elected president of the club, Olutekunbi expressed his excitement and appreciation to the members as well as the general public for finding in his person, a capable hand that will not only pilot the club towards ground-breaking results .
According to him, the club has consistently set a paradigm by launching several programs including the Lagos open which has acclaimed the club as not only the biggest but also the largest Lawn Tennis club in the country.
Describing the current state of the sector as deplorable, the Club’s president declared that the county’s sporting sector can do better and win better laurels in international events such as the Olympics and Commonwealth Games if there is a level of Diversification in the sector. Describing the state of the Sector as a ‘Monochrome competitor’ Olutekunbi stressed that the nation has only emphasized on few sports and has not looked into developing others extensively which according to him has the capacity of not just bringing laurels to the glory of the nation but also developing the nation’s economy.
Speaking on the Revamp Project, Olutekunbi declared that the club will embark on a ‘Young in Court project’ an initiative which he explained is aimed at inculcating within the mind of teenage Nigerians especially students in secondary schools the basics and rudiments of Tennis, which according to him will birth the next generation of tennis enthusiasts that will drive the nation and reestablish the nation’s glory.
Going memory lane, Olutekunbi recalled how inter-House sports Competitions hosted by schools back then birthed most of the nation’s sporting stars. He described the current fate of school sporting competition as pitiable being that a lot of schools have swept all nature of sporting activities under the carpet being that they only focus basically on academia and nothing else.
“It is quite disheartening to see that most of our children will grow up to be nothing but television sports enthusiasts because they never experience the sport for themselves. The inter-house sports competition was not only an incubating space where young athletes were born but an avenue for students to succeed outside the four walls of the classroom.
“Some students may not be able to make commendable distinctions within the classroom, but you see, inter-house sports competitions not only provide them with a sense of belonging but also boost their morals and revamp their confidence level that they too matter.
Speaking on the state of Tennis in the nation, the clubs’ president noted that a large number of Nigerians might be interested in joining but they are reluctant due to skepticism and the belief that the sport is exclusively for the elite in society. He explained that Tennis as a sport has the potential to bring more medals to the nation as long as authorities and private organizations are willing to invest in and develop the sector.
Similarly, the Chairman of the club Mr. Etim mana who also spoke to newsmen on his send-forth emphasized the need for older persons to be active and engage in sporting activities like Tennis. Attesting that tennis is not just a sport but a family, Mr. Etim stresses that the health benefits of actively engaging in tennis are enumerable.
He also called on the citizenry, especially stakeholders, to invest and encourage the younger population to see the need and beauty of the game.
Established in 1895, The Lagos Lawn Tennis Club is the oldest in Nigeria. The Club which occupies approximately 14,000 square meters, is located at 12, Tafawa Balewa Square, on Lagos Island. The Club plays host to several tennis tournaments with the Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis Championship (GCLT), an annual ITF Pro-Circuit competition with w $100,000 in prize money. It is no doubt the most reputable Tennis event in the entire West African Region.