… congratulates Elo Jackson veteran tennis tourney participants

As the Elo Jackson International Veteran Tennis Tournament South-South 2024 begins in Benin City, the Executive Chairman, Edo State Sports Commission, Olympian Yussuf Alli stated that his commission is working out plans and programmes towards the revival of Ogbe Hard Court and grassroots tennis championships that will be beneficial to young athletes in Edo State.

The Edo Sports Commission boss made the commitment on Friday in his remark during the opening ceremony of the
second edition of the Elo Jackson International Veteran Tennis Tournament at the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City.

Alli urged the Executive Board of the Edo State Tennis Association and other stakeholders to explore the opportunities the ongoing International Veteran Tennis Tournament provides to galvanize support for the commission, as plans are underway towards reviving the Ogbe Hard Court and grassroots tennis championships in Edo State.

While congratulating the hosts and participants at Elo Jackson Veteran Tennis Tournament Alli said: “It is a very good idea, and I think this is the first time we are having it here and hopefully it will be an annual thing.

“I love what Elo Jackson is doing, but the drive for us is youth event and since I am still here, hopefully one or two of them will sponsor the youth programme, because when you develop from the youth, that is when the state will benefit. And the way I’m seeing people here, I’m sure one or two people here will pick up the youth programme and help us develop tennis.

“If you recall, the history of Tennis in Nigeria will not be complete without mentioning Edo. Right here we’re in the Ogbe Hard Court, our plan and programme is to revive the Ogbe Hard Court and hopefully in the nearest future we will come back and start seeing the Ogbe Hard Court again.

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On the high cost of organizing international tennis tournament such as the Ogbe Hard Court, Olympian Yussuf Alli assured that with Edo State Government’s support,the Ogbe Hard Court Tennis Tournament will return soon.

Earlier in his welcome address, the sponsor and chief organiser of the Veteran Tennis Tournament, Dr. Elo Jackson revealed that his idea gave birth to the tournament because he felt the need for aged tennis stars to have a platform to recreate, exercise and network so that through the means, consideration for youth competitions can also be conceived.

“This Veteran Tennis Tournament is first in Nigeria. It started last year with only veterans within Edo. This year we decided to extend it to the South-South states of the Federation as advised by the Tennis Federation President,” Dr. Jackson said.

Meanwhile, over sixty veteran tennis players across the South-South geopolitical zone of Nigeria are at the Ogbe Hard Court of the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, participating in the second edition of the Elo Jackson International Veteran Tennis Tournament.

The tournament which brought veterans from Rivers, Delta, Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa states started at 10:00 am on Friday with draws held for
the men’s singles and men’s doubles competitions in two age categories of 50-55 years and 56 years and above.

In the singles’ draw of 32, the game ended 4-2 in the first set and 4-1 in the second set in favour of Julius Idiakhane on Friday.

Peter Ekpeyoung scored 4-1 in the first set and 4-1 in the second set against Job odion. Ikoyo Eweto came from set down 2-4 , 4-1 (10set) to win the entire match against Robert Okonigele . While Isimene Iriogbe won two straight sets against Suiter Wodu.

The tournament which is aimed at creating platforms for the veteran tennis players to exercise, have fun, rejuvenate and network is expected to herald grassroots competitions designed for talents hunt and development in Edo State.

The men’s singles and doubles finals competions are ongoing as at the time of reporting.