The 2020 edition of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)-sponsored Senior Open Tennis Championship kicked-off today, November 6, at the Tennis Complex of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.
This year’s competition, which is holding five months behind schedule, due to the global impact of coronavirus pandemic, is expected to attract over 250 players, with the duo of Sylvester Emmanuel and Oyinlomo Quadri, leading the men’s and women’s seeds, respectively.
Speaking to newsmen today, November 5, in Abuja, the Acting Director in the Corporate Communications Department of the apex bank, Osita Nwanisobi, pledged the bank’s commitment to the sponsorship of the tournament, which is in its 42nd year, saying that the objective of the Tennis Championship is to ensure that young talents are given a veritable platform to represent the nation at international tennis tournaments.
According to him, the CBN recognized the critical role of the youth in nation building, hence it was doing all within the limits of its mandate to encourage the empowerment of the Nigerian youth. He therefore urged youth in the country to take advantage of all the intervention programmes of the Bank to enhance the quality of their lives as well as contribute to the economic prosperity of Nigeria.
He tasked participants at the competition to take opportunity of the Championship to exhibit their talents, with a view to showcasing them at tournaments locally and internationally.
Also speaking, the President of the Nigerian Tennis Federation (NTF), Engineer Dayo Akindoju, said that in line with the COVID-19 protocols put in place by the Nigerian Government, the number of spectators at the one-week tournament will be restricted in order to check any possible spread of the virus in Nigeria.
He said that there is an upward review in the prize money for the preliminary rounds, adding that participants will slug it out for honours in the men’s singles, women’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s doubles, wheelchair men’s singles, and wheelchair women’s singles categories.
Winners of in the men’s and women’s singles categories are expected to go home N700,000 each, while runners-up will each receive the sum of N350,000. Winners in the men’s and women’s wheel-chair categories are to receive the sum of N250,000 each, just as the winners in the doubles categories are expected to receive N220,000.
The finals of the competition come up on November 14.