Captain Stephen Owolabi Martins, the MD/CEO of Azimuth Shipping Lines Limited Junior Tennis Championship, has revealed why the competition keeps growing and is attracting many players across the country.
The recently concluded event attracted nearly 300 junior starlets from different parts of Nigeria and was adjudged one of the best organized
In an interview with Nigeria Tennis Live after the event, Captain Owolabi mentioned that his passion for tennis is his driving factor, as he wants to keep growing and improving.
“As you can see, we have improved a lot with this year’s event. We are happy and everything is good, and everything is fine,” he began.
On why the education grant was increased by 100%, he explained that the Nigerian economy does not make the monies valuable.
Said he: “You can see the economy, especially the dollar exchange rate, you can see the way it keeps flying up.
“Fifty thousand (naira) is like nothing. It’s not as if there’s a lot of money, but it’s just to make them feel a sense of belonging with the tournament and so that whatever we give to them is tangible. They will be able to use it for their education.
“We want to improve, so that if we are giving you one hundred thousand this year, we want to (maybe) next year or the upper year go two hundred, three hundred, you know, it’s not static. It should be moving up.”
Coaches and players have continued attending the tournament, in spite of the proximity to their locations.
And Captain Owolabi is proud of the competition’s growth. “They keep coming because of our package. You can see that our package is robust.
“You start from transportation. I don’t know anywhere, as far as I’m concerned or I’ve heard, that players are being paid to come. I stand to be corrected.
“Coaches are being paid for, players get their grants, they put them in good hotels, feeding and every other thing. So, it’s like is well prepared for, just carry your bag and come.
“Already, the ground has been prepared for you to develop. So, just pick your racket and come and play. It’s as if we’ve made everything smooth for them. When other states hear these, they are motivated and also want to come.”