Coach Ubale Mohammed, the national junior tennis coach, has dropped a bombshell about the age cheat incidents witnessed at the recently concluded National Youth Games in Ilorin, the Kwara State Capital.
Ubale, who was on ground from the beginning to the end of the competition, witnessed, first hand, how some of the players were smuggled in to play beyond their ages.
Some players and coaches had complained bitterly about how some of the players who participated were above 15 (the age limit for players participating in the tournament), but these complaints fell on deaf ears.
In a brief chat with Nigeria Tennis Live after the competition, however, Ubale revealed his observations, especially because of how some of the legitimate junior players lost their matches.
He explained that the players’ screening should have been done by the tennis federation as against the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the event.
“To Me, people are not sincere. Because most of the players in the semifinals, in the quarterfinals, their ages are over to be candid,” the well traveled and experienced coach stated.
“The Federation needs to work on that. You know, most of them are cheating which is not good for tennis.
“It would have been much better if the Federation handled the screening because we know these players. You know the players, you know his age, and the Committee screens him in and since he has been allowed in, there’s nothing anybody can do.
“That’s why the coaches thought ‘I’ll bring an overaged player, and there’s nothing anybody can do’. You know, because some want to be sincere, but seeing other states bringing in overaged players, they bring in such players too,” the Kaduna State-based coach added.
Abubakar Yusuf from Team Delta defeated Oluwaseun Ogunshakin of Ekiti State to win the Boys Singles gold medal while Iretomiwa Oni (Ekiti) saw off Blessing Otu (Delta) to claim gold in the Girls Singles event.