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Nigerian minister reveals more about homeless ex-tennis champion

By admin Jan 30, 2024
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Nigeria’s Minister of Sports Development, John Owan-Enoh, has revealed more details about a former lawn tennis champion, Tanya Okpala, who is homeless.

PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported how Ms Okpala was rescued by Governor Charles Soludo of Anambra State who ordered her rehabilitation.

The governor’s intervention came after the US-based former tennis star was captured in a video clip roaming the streets in Awka.

Ms Okpala was said to be homeless and mentally ill.

Bi-racial, Ms Okpala’s mother is from Belarus, an Eastern European country, while her father is from Nkpologwu Community in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, Nigeria’s South-east.

Minister speaks

Mr Owan-Enoh, in a post via his X handle on Monday, said he has been briefed by Ms Okpala’s father on the genesis of his daughter’s problem.

“I spoke with Tanya’s father who briefed me on her current condition and the genesis of her problem confirmed to me, that the Nigerian Tennis Federation paid for Tanya’s first rehabilitation many years ago when her condition became public knowledge, but sadly the former tennis star relapsed after a short while,” he said.

The sports minister said his ministry will activate and enable a “welfare system” that caters to serving and retired athletes in Nigeria.

READ ALSO: How I became homeless – Ex-tennis champion

“As a ministry, we will take action in this regard as every athlete who has brought glory to our nation deserves appropriate welfare,” he said.

Mr Owan-Enoh thanked Governor Soludo for his intervention.

“This is highly commendable,” he said.

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