The maiden GTF ASHANTI OPEN TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP, an initiative of Tentrio Consult in partnership with the Ghana Tennis Federation and the Ashanti Region Tennis Association, was successfully held from 13th to 19th December 2021.
The tournament had MTN Ghana as Gold Sponsor with support from other sponsors, namely, Western Mall & Pharmacy (Kumasi), Peninsula Resort & Golf Club (Akosombo), Guinness Ghana Breweries Limited (GGBL), New Age Agric Solutions Limited (Evive Local Jasmine Rice) and Baboo Sports (Sports Apparel & Equipment).
The open championship witnessed all tennis enthusiasts and players gathering for a week-long activity. 4 Garrison Officers’ Mess Tennis Club and Ashanti Tennis Club were host clubs for the tournament. The open championship had thirteen age and gender categories from which players could choose to play. They were,
- Ladies Singles 30 & Below || 31 & Above
- Ladies Doubles 31 & Above
- Semi – Professionals 30 & Below || 31 & Above
- Semi – Professionals Doubles
- Men Singles 35-44 || 45-54 || 55 – 64 || 65 & Above
- Men Doubles 35 – 44 || 45 – 54 || 55 – 64 || 65 & Above
- Mixed Doubles
The early round fixtures saw exciting matches in all thirteen categories. The semi-final clash between the Kotehene of Amokom Traditional Area, Nana Attakora, versus Ebenezer Grant, aka Paa Grant (Champion of the 2021 Peter Annan Open 55-64 Category). The pulsating match lived up to the hype, and the traditional ruler edged the Accra Champion 10-8 in the deciding super tie-break. Another fixture that received deserved attention was the men’s doubles 35-44 category semi-finals between the well-travelled and formidable pair of Ismailia Lamptey and Bernard Nii Bortey (Cobra Boys) versus the partnership of the Ashanti Tennis Club home favourites partnership of Dr Ernest Kissi and Kenneth Amankwah. In front of a packed house and with the odds of support against them, the Cobra boys prevailed and qualified for the final.
In the ladies 31 & Above, local favourite Mariam Mamoud, aka Auntie, dominated her side of the draw and defeated another local favourite, Brenda Sutinga. On the other side of the draw, best friends and doubles partners Deladem Tanson and Adwoa Boakyewaa met in another classic lady’s match.
Despite the friendship, the match was played under intense competitiveness, with both players stretching each other in a bid to win. Dela eventually edged Adwoa to win in two straight sets. in all the.
The final day of the championship dubbed the Trophy Day has the topmost fixture of the best two (1&2) professional tennis contesting for the End of Year Best Player Trophy as the championship’s final match. Before that, the final matches began with the men 35-44 doubles final. Jonas Quartey (Captain of 4 Garrison Officers’ Mess Tennis Club and Samuel Taylor (Member of the Club) competed for the trophy against the Cobra Boys. Despite the brilliant effort from the home pair by fighting from a 5-8 deficit to a tie of 8-8, they lost out narrowly in the tie-break and handed the trophy to the Cobra Boys from Tema.
The next match was the Ladies 30 & Below and 31 & Above categories. The first lived up to its billing, with Precious Nunana, a recent Champion from Accra, defeating Yayra Komashie in straight sets. This was followed by the lady’s final adjudged to be the best comeback match of 2021. Kumasi’s favourite lady’s player Mariam Mamoud aka Antie fought from 0-6 in the second set to beat Deladem Tanson to lift the trophy.
Despite the advertised topmost fixture for the day, the Men 55-64 category was arguably the most anticipated of all the matches. Kotehene, Nana Attakora, having eliminated the Accra Champion, Paa Grant, had Mr Kwabena Boateng, CEO of Kevys Cosmetics, in his way of lifting the trophy. However, with all his fellow members cheering and backing him, Kevys was just too good on the day. He defeated the famous traditional ruler 9-5 to lift the trophy.
The day’s main attraction followed and lived up to the billing. Having both arrived from Accra via the morning flight, Samuel Antwi, number 2 player and recently adjudged the best male talent of 2021 at the SWAG awards, competed with Johnson Acquah is a brilliant tennis match to the delight of the fans. Samuel affirmed his dominance this year by winning 6-3, 6-2.
Ladies Below 30 Singles
Precious Nunana bt Yayra Komashie (6-2, 6-4)
Ladies 30plus Singles
Mariam Mahmoud bt Deladem Tanson (6-4, 0-6, 10-8)
Men below 30 Singles
Albert Nti bt Quaye Atobia (3-1(R))
Men Semi Pro Singles
Mohammed Zakaria bt Andrews Adu-Appiah (6-4,5-7,10-7)
Men 35/44 Singles
George Heckson bt Jonathan Quartey (6-0, 6-4)
Men 45/54 Singles
Nana Yaw bt Robert Tetteh (7-2(R))
Men 55/64 Singles
Kwabena Boateng bt Nana Attakora (9-5)
Ladies 30plus Doubles
Deladem Tanson/Adwoa Boakyewaa Abrokwa bt precious Nunana/Mariam Mahmoud
Men Semi-Pro Doubles
Mohammed Zakaria/Thomas Ohene-Effah bt Andrews Adu-Appiah/Frank Newton
Men 35/44 Doubles
Ismaila Lamptey/Bernard Nii Bortey aka Cobra Boys bt Jonathan Quartey/Samuel Taylor
Men 45/54 Doubles
Nana Yaw/Nana Attakora bt Robert Tetteh/Ernest Antwi (9-4)
Men 55/64 Doubles
Joshua Mensah/David Sarbah bt Prof Fordjour/Kwabena Boateng (9-2)
THE TROPHY AND PRIZE MONEY
The apex prize for all categories of the Open is a weekend stay at Peninsula Resort & Golf Club. This is followed by money from Gold and Silver Sponsors and products from other sponsors such as Evive Jasmine Local Rice, Heineken and Malta Guinness.
The closing ceremony of the tournament commenced right after the final match. The tournament director, Mr Henry Boni-Quarshie, shared the following as the outline for the ceremony.
- Welcome Address by Regional Association Host (Mr Gyamibi)
- Presentation of Trophies
- Message by President of Ghana Tennis Federation (Isaac Aboagye Duah)
- Message by Representative of MTN Ghana (Salomey Akosua Klutse)
- Closing Remarks
By courtesy of Mr Isaac Owusu, CEO of Western Group and Patron of 4 Garrison Officers’ Mess Tennis Club, Men and Ladies under 30 also received monetary prizes in addition to Semi-Professionals.
The guest of honour for the closing ceremony, i.e. trophy day, was Nana Apinkra Akwasi Awua I, Chief of Kontomponiafere in the Ashanti Region.
Also, present was Colonel Selorm Kwasi Amengor, Director of Special Operations at the Department of Joint Operations, General Headquarters, Ghana Armed Forces, and Vice Chairman Army Officers Mess Tennis Club. Lieutenant Colonel Kwesi also joined the Commanding Officer of the 4th Infantry Battalion (4BN).
Delivering a closing speech, the regional association chairman thanked the tournament organizers Tentrio Consult and the Ghana Tennis Federation for diversifying the hosting of events from the predominant Accra narrative. He also expressed a big thank you to the Gold Sponsors MTN Ghana and Mr Isaac Owusu of Western Group for their support in making this event a reality.
In his closing words, Mr Isaac Aboagye Duah, president of the Federation, highlighted the few actions of the Federation towards growing the sport in the regions. He announced the award received at the SWAG Awards and the subsequent dedication to all partners of the Federation who have made that possible. MTN, the sponsor of the awards, was acknowledged for its partnership with the organizers. He further announced plans for camping players early in 2022 towards adequate preparation for the 2022 Billie Jean King Cup and Davis Cup, respectively. He ended by promising to host the next AGM of the Federation in the region.
In his closing remarks, the tournament director Mr Henry Boni-Quarshie thanked the gracious host 4 Garrison Officers’ Mess Tennis Club, The Gold Sponsor MTN Ghana, which was the impetus in actualizing the dream, the Silver Sponsor for extending overstretched support, despite the short notice, Peninsula resort & Golf Club, Guinness Ghana Breweries Ltd and New Age Agric Solutions for their help in making products and services for prizes. A special appreciation was also extended to Mr Jesse Ato Desbordes, member of TenTrio Team and Nana Sarpong Boateng tournament organizer. All officials, headed by Godfred Lanteh Tetteh and the ballboys, for their sterling support. With 11 months ahead, the 2022 event will be bigger and better.