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Ogun State Tennis Honors Coaching Legends

Tennis National Coach Akinloye says Nigeria has enough talents

The Ogun State Tennis Association recently held an awards ceremony to recognize the outstanding contributions of several individuals to the development of tennis in Nigeria, with a particular focus on Ogun State.

Kehinde Martins-Ake, a former senior tennis coach in Ogun State, and Coach Wole Festus Akinyeju, Director of the Southlake Tennis Centre in Texas, USA, received Meritorious Awards of Excellence. Both are recognized for their dedication to fostering the growth of tennis within the country and Ogun State specifically.

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Sunday Enitan, a coach at Shaw University in the United States and Ogun State tennis coach, and Kehinde Ijaola were also acknowledged for their contributions to the sport.

According to the association’s secretary, Olusola Afolabi, the awards celebrate these individuals’ past achievements as renowned national and international tennis players, as well as their ongoing commitment to promoting the game.

The awards were presented at the conclusion of a 2-day workshop tagged, “Modern Day Tennis Coaching,” organized by the Ogun State Tennis Association.

The workshop, which took place at the green court, (tennis section) of the Abeokuta Sports Club, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital attracted tennis coaches across the state, with Coach Rotimi Akinloye as the lead instructor and Wole Festus Akinyeju, Director, Southlake Tennis Centre, as facilitator.

According to the facilitator, Coach Akinyeju, the recipients exemplified excellence, leadership, respect, and a true love for the sport of tennis and the art of coaching. He said the award showcased people who have inspired generations of young players and fellow coaches to grow the sport of tennis across the globe.

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“The recipients tutored players who have represented Nigeria and the African continent and won laurels. They deserved all the accolades, love, and appreciation.” He said

Speaking on the purpose of the workshop, Akinyeju maintained that the impact was going to be positive, at least with time. “I decided to return home to give back to the community that made me and contribute to the growth of tennis in Nigeria.

“What you tell players will make or mar them, so coaches must be up to date with new methodologies, both technically and tactically as well as be ready to exchange ideas to be able to transfer right knowledge to the players.” He said.

“Again, in tennis, programmes and sponsorship drive growth. Without it, there is nothing anyone can achieve in tennis. it is very important to have a series of programmes that would attract corporate sponsors through which players can be developed.” Akinyeju added.

Coach Kehinde Ijaola, the Ogun State Tennis Coach and a former tennis coach in the state, Kehinde Martins-Ake, whom were recipients of the awards, said, mentorship programmes will be instituted at the local and state levels in order to sustain legacies of the founding fathers of the game.

According to them, such gesture would expose talented tennis players in Ogun State to modern day technical and tactical strategies to stay above board in any of their national and international engagements particularly as Ogun state prepares to host National Sports Festival.

Speaking further, they promised to remain useful towards the discovery and development of players as well as use their experiences to help the players achieve impartation of techniques and match place situations, which are crucial to developing players across all levels for local, state, national, and international engagements.

Certificates of participation were presented to all the coaches who participated during the workshop.

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