Three hours on the court is a really long time, but it was all Alex Adewale needed to prove to Nigerian tennis followers that he remains one of Nigeria’s best physically challenged players to wield the racquet.
They call him ‘Osama’ (after the popular Osama Bin Laden), not just because he thinks it is a good appellation, but because he is as deadly – on the court – as the one by whose name he is more popular among his peers.
After his 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 defeat of Wasiu Yusuf, a former African number one tennis star, Alex will go down history lane as one who won the longest ever duel in a final of such competition and this impressive performance has not gone unnoticed by Mr. Tochukwu Okeke, the Vice President of the Mainland Tennis Club and sponsor of the tournament.
|Alex Adewale receives his trophy from Mr. Okeke after the 3-hour game.|
Nigerian Tennis Live gathered that Mr. Okeke, has pledged to boost the profile of the event from next year and would be thrown open to players from all the states of the federation.
He said: “From next year, I will expand the scope of this championship. I’ll go national with this sponsorship. This inaugural edition was experimental and I am really impressed by the standard displayed by the players and their level of discipline.
“Wheelchair tennis players should be encouraged in the game because they serve as inspiration and role model to many on the streets who are physically challenged.
“What they are doing as tennis players would encourage a lot of physically challenged persons to take to sport instead of begging on the streets and this is good for society.”
Meanwhile, in the women’s final, Nigeria’s current number one player Kafaya Omisore lived up to her billing as she saw off ambitious Oluwakemi Segun in a 6-4, 6-4 game.
Lateef Shodipo, the national team captain, had sweet words for the organisers after the event, as he boasted that Nigerians have the best players on the continent.
“On behalf of all the wheelchair tennis players in the country, I say a big thank you to the sponsor, Mr. Tochukwu Okeke. God will reward him for what he has done for our game.
“Nigerian players are the best on the continent and without mincing words can rule the world with enough support,” he stated.