by Lanre Adesanya
In a resolve, to impact the people through sporting activities,the Wife of the Ondo State Governor, Arabinrin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu heralds a new era by officially launching the ‘State Summer Tennis Clinic for children’ between Ages 4-13 at the township stadium, Akure. Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu was represented at the august event by his Deputy, Hon. Agboola Ajayi.
Arabirin Akeredolu while affirming the position of the Akeredolu led government to make Ondo State the tennis hub In Nigeria noted that it was high time Ondo State began producing its own Serena Williams, thereby building future champions of the game in Nigeria and worldwide.
Mrs. Akeredolu also observed that Ondo State had in time past produced national and international players Like Princess Rolake Olateru Olagbegi, Sir Segun Balogun and the umpire at the Wimbledon, Prince Wale Olateru Olagbegi, she regretted the fact that Nigeria has now become a sleeping giant, therefore steps must be taken to retrace and restore the age long glorious elements.
“This Clinic is essentially to identify and develop talents in our children. It is important to encourage sports development among youths in the State, particularly at the grassroots level in order to discover and develop potentials and skills of the young ones who are capable of becoming future champions.
“The benefits of catching our youths young, especially in sports cannot be over emphasized. Let us look at champions like the Williams Sisters; Venus and Serena Williams, who started at age three and have gone on to win numerous awards and break glass ceiling, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Billie Jean King just to mention a few.”, She stressed
“This Tennis Clinic that we are laying the foundation today is a non governmental concept. You can invest in it. Let nobody wait for Arakunrin to bring money here”, She Added.
Mrs. Akeredolu however expressed optimism that the beneficiaries of this project will be empowered to develop independence and confidence through taking on new challenges as well as being mentored into greatness.
In His Remark, Hon. Ajayi acknowledged the vision of the first lady as being deeply rooted with far reaching effect stressing that she has indeed been touching on all the critical aspects of the economy.
Earlier, in his welcome address, Engineer Olumuyiwa Sonuga thanked the first lady for the initiative while urging parents to continue to encourage their children to follow through with the programme, noting that it is a source of gainful employment for them in the future.
In her goodwill message, Mrs. Rolake Kazeem (Nee Olagbegi) charged the children to take advantage of the opportunity given to them, stressing that there are lots of opportunities in the field of Tennis. She challenged parents to be a part of the project as plans are underway for an after school training session for the children.
She also noted that Chief Mrs. Idowu Akinbulumo urged parents to ensure full participation of their children in the course of the program.
The event also featured other Side attractions which include a jogging exercise led by Arabinrin Akeredolu and an exhibition match between the wife of the governor and the deputy Governor, Hon. Agboola Ajayi.