Tennis: Rainoil rains N13m on 100 players

He appealed to the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF) to beam its searchlight on young talents that can be groomed into world beaters with international standard.

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Rainoil Limited in partenership with Stanbic IBTC Bank on Tuesday announced that no fewer than 100 top ranked players would participate at the 12th edition of the Rainoil Tennis Open 2022.

The Group Managing Director, Gabriel Ogbechie, in a press conference at the Tennis Section of the Ikoyi Club 1938, reiterated the brand’s commitment towards the development of Tennis.

He appealed to the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF) to beam its searchlight on young talents that can be groomed into world beaters with international standard.

“I am delighted to announce that this year’s edition will be one to remember, our partnership with Stanbic IBTC Bank will make this year’s championships a delight, for both the fans and the spectators.

“We look forward to more partnership going into the future; we’re very passionate about Tennis, we have being supporting it for 12 years if not more.

“Tennis is a sport through which we can encourage our very young players, tennis will not only take our young boys and girls out of poverty, it will catapult them into prosperity.

“My expectations are numerous because of my passion for tennis, but my topmost wish is to have more young talent, the current number one ranked player in the world is barely 19 years-old, his career span will be longer,’’ he said.

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The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the winner of the men’s category will go home with N1.5 million while the runner up will go home with N750,000.

In the women’s category, winner gets one million Naira, while the runner up gets N500,000.

In light of the disparity of the prize money, Ogbechie said that the inadequate number of professional tennis players is a factor to consider.

“Total prize money is about 13 million Naira, the prize money is the highest in the history of tennis in Nigeria; the men’s draw we got 48 players to play while women is 32.

“We would have loved to make a draw of 48 for women too, but it’s a struggle to women who are pros to play, we are seriously looking at leveling up the prize money,’’ Ogbechie said.

NAN reports that the tournament is scheduled to serve-off from Dec. 12 to Dec. 18 at the tennis section of the Ikoyi Club 1938.

Also speaking at the event was the Lady Captain of the tennis section Chizoba Onuoha, she applauded the Rainoil for being consistent, she also commended Stanbic IBTC.

“We at the Ikoyi Club 1938 are elated, every edition of this tournament is always better than the previous edition, I’m confident that this year’s edition won’t be different.

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“Like our passionate sponsor said, we need more of this partnership in order to develop the sport,’’ she said.

Also speaking at the event was a representation of the tennis federation, Essien Sunday, he gave a rundown of how the players would be selected.

“For the men, 36 top players, four wildcards, 36 draws, while the women’s category 20 top players, four wildcards, the wildcards will be selected by stakeholders,’’ he said.

Omotola Egbedeyi, Manager Oil and Gas also of Stanbic IBTC Bank, Emmanuel Omuajine, the Executive Director of Rainoil, called on tennis lovers to come out in their numbers to watch.

“Its going to be full of live, come see professionals display their skills in a highly competitive championships,’’ he said.