By; AYO OJEDOKUN, Lagos
Nigeria will lead no fewer than five other African countries’ to compete for glory as the 2nd PUMA Engineering Wheelchair Open in October 29 and November 2 in Abuja.Nigeria’s head coach, Frank Tarmena, disclosed that Ghana, Kenya, Cameroon, Tanzania and Zambia have all indicated their participation in the point-winning tournament sponsored by Former Nigeria Tennis Federation boss, Engr. Sani Ndanusa, who is now the head of wheelchair tennis in Africa.The tournament which is a hard-court event on the ITF Future Series, will feature participants across Africa in the men’s and women’s singles categories, as well as the men’s and women’s doubles, all jostling for a share of the $3,500 in prize money as well as valuable points to aid their attending international tournaments.Nigeria dominated the last edition with Alex Adewale and Kafayat Omisore winning the top prizes in the singles events while the country also scooped the doubles titles.Tarmena, who is also an ITF regional developmental instructor for West and Central Africa, expressed confidence in Nigerian posting another memorable outing nothing that the championship will serve as a good build up for the upcoming Para African Games slated for January 2020 in Morocco.He enthused; “The gap between us and South Africa and a few northern African countries that are leading on the continent is not much. The Puma Engineering tournament is coming at the right time because it would be like a test run of what we will be facing in the Para Africa Games and I’m convinced the hunger and determination to succeed will drive us to the top.’Within a few years into the sport, our players have qualified and featured in the Paralympics and it would be recalled that on our debut in Beijing 2008, Wasiu Yusuf gave the world no 7 a good challenge playing on an outdated wheelchair. It was the talk of the town and it was a similar experience in London where Alex also making his debut, puts up a spirited performance.