Bassey Inyang in Calabar
A four-day Tennis championship to honour a former Nigerian star player, 88 year-old Etubom Charles Ekpo Duke, has flagged off at the Calabar Sports Club. The tournament is sponsored by the state government and its Sports Commission
Addressing participants at the opening ceremony of the event, Chairman of the Sports Commission, Orok Duke, said the commission and Governor Ben Ayade’s administration would always remember the state’s legends in sports, especially when they are still alive.
Duke said his commission was committed to support sport activities and appealed to individuals and organisations to sponsor sports for the development and employment of teeming youths.
Duke said cash prizes would be awarded to those who excelled, and sundry prizes given to participants in the primary and secondary schools’ categories of the tournament.
In his address, the State Director of Sports, Dr. Jude Amadi, who described tennis as one of the best sports in the world, said the tournament was mooted to discover young talents who would represent the state and the nation in future.
Amadi charged the athletes to ensure they made the cut so as to be chosen to represent Team Cross River in upcoming sporting activities in the state.
Earlier in a goodwill message Etubom Duke, said he appreciated the gesture done to him by the state sports commission and Calabar Sports Club by organising the tournament in his honour.
He charged stakeholders and other well-meaning Nigerians to encourage kids to play tennis.
The octogenarian who is a legend in the game in the country also promised to do his best to encourage tennis in the state.
Former President, Calabar Sports Club, Eteidung Umo E.Umo-Otong, said he was pleased with the state government’s attitude of grooming primary and secondary schools students in order to nurture fresh tennis players from the grassroots level.
Umo-Otong, said that the students should continually participate in sporting activities that would no doubt reduce redundancy and idleness.