The tennis section of the Rowe Park Sports Centre, Yaba, Lagos was buzzing with excitement as the inaugural edition of the Coach Ohans Memorial Tennis Clinic/Tournament took center stage.
More than 50 youngsters registered for the clinic which was conducted by tennis coaches trained by the late Coach Ohans as well as those with whom he trained other players before his demise in 2021.
The event which started on Wednesday, 5 January, with a tennis clinic, ended on Saturday, 8 January, with a tennis competition which presented prizes and beautiful trophies to winners in the boys and girls 12 & Unders category.
Every participant got a bag after the clinic but it was the semifinalists and finalists who got even more beautiful gifts and trophies for their efforts.
Jeremiah Benjamin won the boys event to win his first ever tournament having played in a few recently and was joined on the podium by Bright Emmanuel who defeated her sister Justina – a National Youth Games semifinalist – to also clinch her first ever trophy at a competition.
Benjamin, who was excited about his first ever title win as a tennis player, was all smiles after receiving his trophy and the prizes for the winner. The teenager believes that even though this was not a tough competition where he could test his ability against the big boys, it was enough boost for him as a player.
“I know that the competition was not as tough as the previous ones I’ve played in, but I’m glad that I won my first ever trophy today. I am very happy,” he said after receiving his trophy on Saturday afternoon.
In a brief chat with journalists after what looked like an embarrassing loss, Justina confirmed that she did not allow her younger sister win.
“She won because she was better than me on the court today, that’s all. I didn’t allow her win the match, I also wanted to win,” the 13-year-old said.
Coach Frank Termena, an acquaintance of late Coach Ohans and one of the trainers at the clinic, was full of praise for Francisca Osedumme Odeh, the sponsor of the event, whom he said is a grateful child to have volunteered to sponsor the clinic/tournament.
“You see Francisca and her sister, I and Coach Ohans trained them from when they were young, including Dominic. Firstly, I am very happy that this girl, Francisca, she appreciates all that the late Ohans did for her, this fills my heart with joy.
“Also, if you look at the way the clinic was organized, it has every trait of Coach Ohans. This is how he’d have conducted the clinic if he were still alive. That’s how he does his things.
“Others should learn from these ones, how to organize tennis clinics and junior tournaments for beginners. They have done really well and I am proud of them,” the national wheelchair tennis coach told journalists.