By Aderonke Ojediran/Oluwaseun Nubi
David Ekpenyong has emerged winner of the men’s single by beating his opponent, Uche Oparaoji, 7-6(4), 6-1, at the 2022 Rainoil Tennis Tournament.
The championship was held at the Tennis Section of the Ikoyi Club in Lagos in 1938.
Ekpenyong won the grand prize of N1.5 million.
Ekpenyong and Oparaoji had earlier won the men’s double, beating Biron Albert and Madueke Nonso 6-3, 4-6, 10-8.
In a similar vein, Marylove Edwards, 17, won the women’s singles by defeating Anu Ayegbusi, 6-0, 2-0 rtd, after Ayegbusi bowed out during the second round.
The women’s doubles team of Edward and Ayegbusi also won, defeating Toyin Asogba and Blessing Omotayo 6-0, 6-2.
The tournament, which was co-sponsored by Stanbic IBTC Bank, attracted 144 top players from across Nigeria.
Akeem Mustafa, Chairman of the Tennis Section of Ikoyi Club 1938, praised Rainoil Limited for successfully hosting the event.
According to Mustafa, Rainoil Limited has over the years demonstrated unusual passion and support for tennis and has consistently increased the winnings of the tournament, thereby building interest in the game.
He urged the management of Rainoil not to relent in their support for the game.
Dr Gabriel Ogbechie, Group Managing Director of Rainoil Limited, stated that Rainoil’s investment in lawn tennis stems from the company’s desire to provide platforms for young people to enjoy the game.
Ogbechie said tennis is a game that is capable of lifting the young ones out of poverty and bringing them into prosperity.
He said top tennis players in the world have won over 100 million dollars in prize money alone, and Nigerians can rise to that level in the game if well developed.
Ogbechie said that tennis deserves all the support it can get and decried the absence of officials of the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF) at the tournament.
The GMD stated that the NTF as the custodian of the game in Nigeria, should show support and encouragement to any organisation that shows interest in the sport.
The Managing Director of Stanbic IBTC Bank, Wole Adeniyi, expressed satisfaction at the outcome of the tournament and congratulated the winners, players, and Rainoil Limited for the initiative.
He expressed hope that the tournament would produce a grand slam winner in the future, assuring Rainoil of the bank’s continuous support for the tournament.