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Lagos Tennis Club moves to rehabilitate ex-star Tanya Okpala

The Lagos Tennis Club says it is set to organise a charity event to raise funds in support of the rehabilitation of a former tennis star Tanya Okpala.

The President of LTC, Mr. Temitope Abere, gave the assurance in an interview in Lagos on Thursday.

Okpala came into the national limelight as a teenage tennis star in the 90s.

She was a regular feature at several grassroots lawn tennis tournaments in the country and had performed excellently well.

She, however, got into drug use after she traveled out of the country for professional advancement.

Okpala, now 41, has been battling drug addiction, which has become an issue of great concern to her family and the tennis community.

The former tennis star has been undergoing rehabilitation due to the drug-related challenges.

Abere, who spoke against the backdrop of the welfare of players, said that the LTC maintains the tradition of supporting the welfare of outstanding tennis players in the country.

According to Abere, the club will, on Sunday, June 9, stage a charity event at the Lagos Tennis Club, Tafawa Balewa Square, to raise funds to help Okpala get better.

Abere noted that the management of LTC has recognised the plight of the tennis star and has given approval for the humanitarian action.

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“It is true she is currently undergoing rehabilitation in Anambra, and our support will boost efforts towards her well-being.

“The club, the pioneer recreational club in Africa, has a track record of impacting positively on the lives of distinguished sports men and women, particularly tennis players who have made the nation proud.

“Our club was founded in 1895 as a foremost recreational club in the country.

“We have an enviable record for excellence and we are very much committed to creating conducive atmosphere for the discovery and nurturing of talented players that fly the nation’s flag in international tourneys,” he said.

Abere revealed that Tanya Okpala’s father is a member of the Lagos Tennis Club that provided the platform to nurture young Tanya into stardom.

“When we read that Tanya had fallen on hard times, we felt it is part of our corporate responsibility to reach out to the family and support her in the little way we can.

“Our prayer is that Tanya will continue to get good care so that she recovers in good time and continues with her tennis career”.

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Also, Godwin Kienka, the Director of International Tennis Academy, who tutored Okpala, said she was a promising young star who completed and won competitions in the age group cadre before proceeding to the senior level.

Kienka said that Okpala and Jacquelyne Okwueze, among others, performed well, such that all got scholarship to study in U.S.

Okpala, however, returned to Nigeria in 2007 with drug-related challenges, but has been undergoing rehabilitation. (NAN)

Uchenna Eletuo
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