By Akeem Busari.
Austine Stephens of Lafiaji Senior High School has emerged winner of the maiden edition of the Eko U-15 Secondary School Tennis Championship, after he defeated hard-fighting Ayoola Michael of Ebute-Elefun Senior High School by 6-2, 6-4 in the exciting final game played at the tennis court of the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, over the weekend.
To reach the final, Ayoola Michael beat Wilson Igbinovia, one of the members of the famous Igbinovia tennis family, 6-0,6-1 in the semi-final, just as the eventual winner, Austine Stephens defeated David Amuzu, 6-3, 6-3.
Speaking after his historic victory, Stephens expressed gratitude to God Almighty, as he also thanked the organisers of the championship for giving him and others, the opportunity to showcase their God-given talents.
'' I thank God and am also happy to be the winner of the first edition of this championship. Let me also thank the
organisers of this championship for this kind of tournament which would help us to develop our talents for the game of tennis,'' Stephens said.
On his part, Ayoola Michael said the loss in the final, would only serve to spur him to come back better and stronger in the next edition of the championship.
According to the organisers, both finalists will represent Lagos State in the tennis event at the Schools Sports Festival, even as Austine Stephens won for himself a five-day summer holiday in Dubai, thanks to the office of the SSA on Sports to the Lagos State Governor and Stella Group in London.
The SSA, Anthony Adeyinka Adeboye, went ahead to assure that the tennis tourney would bd a yearly event, while also restating his unalloyed commitment to the development of sports at the grassroots in the state.
'' People of this state and indeed, Nigerians should expect better and bigger events from my office, as we are totally committed to the development of sports in the state, as well as using sports to take the youths off the streets and getting them to positively channel their energies to national development through sports,'' Adeboye, also fondly known as Tripple Authority, assured.
The championship which started on February 3rd, 2016, at the Rowe Park Sports Centre in Yaba, Lagos, and which also saw 50 players drawn from different schools in action,was organized by the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Sports in conjunction with Lagos State Tennis Association, Lagos State Lawn Tennis Association, Lagos State Sports Commission and Lagos State Schools Sports Federation.

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