Champions emerge in NNPC/SNEPCo Junior Tennis Tournament

Suleiman Ibrahim has emerged the 2019 Champion in the U-16 category of the just-concluded NNPC/SNEPCo Junior Tennis Tournament held at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club. Ibrahim from Junior Secondary School, Durumi in Abuja, came back after losing his first set 3-10 against David Dawariye from Faith Baptist High School, Diobu, Rivers State, finishing 10-4 and 12-10 in a tie break. But in the Girls U-16 category, Omolayo Bamidele defeated Favour Moses 12-10 and 10-2 in a straight set to become the winner.

In the Boys U-14 category, Ganiyu Mubarak pipped Isaac Danjuma 10-8; 9-11; and 10-6 in a tie break while in the girls category, Esther Oni trumped Scholar Out 11-9; 4-10; and 11-9 in a tie break.

Mohammed Idris stunned the spectators defeating Seun Ogunsakin 7-10; 10-7; and 12-10 in a tie back to emerged winner in the Boys U-12 category while Adewusi Faith walloped Favour Amaechi 10-6 and 10-7 in a straight set.

Speaking at the finals of the tournament, Managing Director, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo), Bayo Ojulari, said: “Today’s event marks yet another important milestone in our partnership with the tournament’s vision of attracting, identifying and developing young talents in the lawn tennis that was conceived by the International Tennis Academy (ITA) for the development of the sport and the good of society.”

Represented by the company’s Non-Operated Venture Manager, Segun Owolabi, said SNEPCo, with the support of NNPC and its co-venture partners was committed to providing opportunities for Nigerian youths not just in education but also in sports.

Since 2013, SNEPCo, in collaboration with NNPC and its co-venture partners has invested over N40 million to groom young tennis players that can represent the country at international games. Two former champions of the NNPC/SNEPCo junior tennis championship – Marylove Edwards and Angel McLeod – are currently pursuing professional tennis careers at the prestigious IMG Academy in the USA.

In his remarks at the presentation of trophies to the winners, Group General Manager, National Petroleum Investment Management Services, an NNPC subsidiary, Mr. Rowland Ewubare, said NNPC was proud to collaborate with SNEPCo in identifying young talent with the potential of making Nigeria proud in global championships.

Ewubare, who was represented by NAPIMS Deputy Manager, Manpower Planning and Human Resources, Mrs. Ifeyinwa Mojo-Eyes, said: “We commend SNEPCo for the success of this tournament and will continue to lend our support to worthy ventures as the one that has been showcased today and encourage more in this direction.”

The 2019 season of the NNPC/SNEPCo Tennis Championship served-off Monday, May 27 at the National Stadium Surulere Tennis Centre with the round-robin playoffs. The championship assembled the best players in three age categories Boys & Girls 16s, 14s and 12s for boys and girls.

Speaking after the match, Suleiman Ibrahim said he breathed through his nose to win his opponent whom he described as a ‘good player’. He also thanked NNPC/SNEPCo for their continued support by their sponsorship of the tournament.

:Durant plans to play in Game 5 Monday

TORONTO — Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant plans to play in Monday’s Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors, a league source told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Durant took part in morning shootaround and then went to receive treatment for the injured calf that has kept him out since May 8. He practiced Sunday with his teammates for the first time since getting hurt.

“It looked good and we’ll see where it all goes,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.

After practice Sunday, the 30-year-old Durant had two big ice packs wrapped around the lower part of his right calf and his right Achilles tendon. He walked toward the team bus with assistant coach Mike Brown and members of the Warriors’ training staff.

The Warriors were hopeful that Durant would be able to return to action in Game 4, but he had not been cleared for practice up to that point. With Golden State facing a must-win game Monday, down 3-1 to the Raptors, Kerr said Sunday that his staff is hoping Durant will be able to return.

Kerr was asked about his concerns with Durant having missed so much time.

“You worry about the conditioning … the skill obviously is undeniable and he’s a guy who can get his shot off any time he wants,” he said.

But Kerr isn’t too worried.

“He’s Kevin Durant. So, if we have him out there, he’ll be a threat, we know that,” Kerr said.

Dealing with the injury has been frustrating, however.

“And we talked about it when the injury occurred, pretty vague a lot of gray area, one of the first things [Warriors director of sports and performance] Rick [Celebrini] told me with calves, it could be a couple weeks, it could be a couple months,” Kerr said. “And it’s not often you have injuries like that. Usually you kind of get that 4-6 week think or 2-3 weeks and so calves, Achilles, muscular stuff, it’s a little tougher to gauge than a joint. And when you combine that with the scrutiny and the media coverage of The Finals, we’ve just been in the spotlight, he’s been in the spotlight, and it’s been tough.”

Durant’s injury is one of several the Warriors continue to deal with. Klay Thompson is playing through a left hamstring injury, big man Kevon Looney is dealing with a nondisplaced first costal cartilage fracture on his right side, and Andre Iguodala has had a lingering calf injury for several weeks.

Sportsbooks accounted for the news that Durant was practicing on Sunday, as the point spread on Game 5 dropped. The Raptors had been listed as high as 3.5-point favorites. The line was down to as low as Toronto -1.5 on Sunday at some sportsbooks. The Raptors were posted as -700 favorites to win the series after their victory in Game 4. The series price was down to Toronto -575 as of Sunday at Caesars sportsbook.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr says the long layoff may affect Kevin Durant, but asserts that if KD plays in Game 5, he’ll be a threat.

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