Thursday, 13 June 2013

I want to be Nigeria’s ‘Serena Williams’ – Blessing Samuel

Nigerian number two female tennis player, Blessing Samuel has attributed her current exploits in the sport to her father’s unflinching support and coaching prowess as she hopes to follow in the footsteps of world tennis star, Serena Williams.
Blessing who has been hitting the tennis ball from a tender age of six while in far away Katsina state said it has been incredible playing the game because she enjoys every bit of it.
She said her father, Mr. Samuel who is grounded in the game, has been guiding her on the rudiments of the sport as she took part in several competitions including 2011 Governor’s Cup in Lagos, Dala tennis at the Port-Harcourt Open, Lord Rumens, CBN Open and  a host of others.
“As a junior player, she won all the championships she participated in from the year 2000 to 2004. Then in the senior category, she did not disappoint.  She also won the Dala tourney back to back in 2009 and 2010,” Mr. Samuel recalled.
For coming tops in those competitions, the aspiring ‘Serena Williams’ got tennis equipment – canvas, tennis balls, racquets and other items for her efforts and she treasured them.
The tennis player blamed lack of sponsorship for the poor growth of the game in Nigeria and said it was sad that a country like Nigeria could stage only two competitions in a year; adding that lack of competition keep the players redundant.
“Getting sponsorship has been my greatest challenge.  The more one tries the more difficult it becomes. There is no encouragement from the corporate world. You are on your own. But all hope is not lost. I am determined to make it to the top. If I can have just a sponsor, I will hit the roof.  I have tried to get at least one, but to no avail yet.  Hope is still alive. One will not lose focus on this task,” she said.
“If I have sponsors, I will take part in competitions abroad and gain more exposures. It is where the sport is a big business.” Yes, I have represented the country in international meets, but no break through yet. One needs to be playing in abroad to boost ones status,” she added.

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