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I Want To Become First Black Female Chair Umpire At A Grand Slam – Ameh

Faith Ameh is a Nigerian tennis player whose name you must have come across if you are conversant with Nigerian tennis. Well, she is ditching active playing already.

At the just-concluded ITF National Officiating School in Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital, Ameh was one of the youngest participants and she appeared really excited about the prospect of becoming a professional umpire.

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She spoke with Nigeria Tennis Live about her ambitions with officiating, as well as her reasons for opting for officiating as against focusing on playing.

“I was inspired by Aurelie Tourte, an umpire. I was surfing the internet when I saw a post about her being the first woman in the world tennis to officiate a men’s match.

“Asides that, I’ve been officiating in clubs and in junior tournaments. And after junior tournaments, I get compliments that I’m good, and that it feels like this was what I was actually built for.

“Mrs. Yakubu also usually asked me to be at her UTR event as an umpire and I saw that it was something I could do without tension or stress,” Ameh told our correspondent.

Speaking further, the Lagos-based player stated that as a Mass Communication student, she is able to speak boldly, “I also speak on podcasts and address crowd so it gives me confidence to carry out some of these activities,” she added.

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Despite her tennis abilities and growth, Ameh believes that it is a lot easier to go far in tennis with something else even if she is unable to achieve that with playing.

According to her: “I found it as an opportunity to go far. Because even if I don’t go far as a player, I can also go far in tennis with something else”.

The teenager also spoke about the Nigerian umpires that fueled her passion for officiating, especially since she got used to them as a youngster.

Mrs. Arinola Isa

“I was really inspired by Aunty Rose and the late Aunty Arin because I’ve been watching them since I started picking balls at the Governor’s Cup.

“I especially liked the way Aunty Arin used to call matches her carriage. She was always in charge and did not allow the players overwhelm her or talk down on her no matter their status,” Ameh revealed.

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Now that she has set her sights on officiating, our 19-year-old umpire believes that she has to reach the pinnacle and she even shared specifics.

She said: “My goal is to get to the peak in officiating. I want to officiate Grand Slams as the Chair Umpire and become the first female from Africa to officiate at the Grand Slams, and give hope to others because I was criticized when I wanted to start officiating.

“People back home told me that I got into officiating early and that leaving active tennis at this age is too early. But I know what I want and I’m standing up for it”.

If Faith Ameh is able to be consistent and follow through with her ambitions, it is only a matter of time before we start seeing her at the echelon of tennis officiating.

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