By Emmanuel Afonne
No fewer than 300 athletes are expected to participate in the maiden Davnotch National Open Tennis Championship coming up between May 14 and May 22 at tennis court of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium Abuja.
Ifedayo Akindoju, Chairman Caretaker Committee of the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF) said this in Abuja on Monday while briefing newsmen on preparations for the championship.
He said about N3.5million would be raked at the end of championship as price monies by the winners of the various categories.
Akindoju also said that the championship would serve as the federation’s hunting ground for talents for the national team ahead of several international competitions lined-up for the federation this year.
“I can tell you the star price for the winner of the men singles and the ladies singles will go home with N500,000 and for the Wheelchair event (male and female), it is N150, 000 each.
“Wheelchair event is not actually an open event, and as such it is for the top 16 athletes in the ladder.
“Recently in Lagos, we had a ladder tournament on wheelchair alone, so we have the latest rankings of all wheelchair players in Nigeria, and because it is closed, we have top 16 in men and top 16 in women to compete in this event.
“We equally have the doubles event for the men; the winner will take home N100,000 and this will be the same for the ladies,” Akindoju said.
According to him, the championship is open for athletes who are 14 years and above.
Also speaking, Emmanuel Ochei, a representative of Davnotch Nigeria Ltd, said the company was sponsoring the championship as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and that it would not relent in lending support for sports development.
“We have been sponsoring the wheelchair tennis event in the past; we have now taken our desire to grow the sport further by sponsoring both able body and physically challenged competitions.
“This is because we understand how important sports is in engaging the youths and how it can take them off the streets.
“We will also extend support to athletes that will be discovered from this championship to enable them reach the zenith of their career,” Ochei said. (NAN)