Thursday 1 November 2012

Williams sisters arrive in Lagos

American tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams arrived in Lagos, Nigeria's largest city, on Tuesday as part of a two-nation tour that will see them play exhibition matches to promote women's rights.

The sisters will visit two secondary schools in Lagos on Thursday as part of an inspirational/empowerment campaign of the girl-child in Nigeria.

They will also feature in a tennis clinic at the Ikoyi Club on Wednesday before playing an exhibition match at the same venue on Friday.

The organisers of the event, Connect Marketing, say the theme of the sisters' visit is Breaking The Mould, meaning their coming will inspire the youths to believe in themselves.

Abimbola Kazeem, speaking on behalf of the organisers, said, "It took us roughly a year to convince the sisters to come to Nigeria. It will be a major boost for Nigerian tennis and a source of inspiration for our youths because the sisters are not only into tennis, they also have other businesses."

The sisters are both counted among the United States' most accomplished athletes, sharing 22 major women's singles championships between them.

Their trip is aimed at promoting "the role that women play in shifting perceptions and encouraging development at all levels across the African continent," a statement from Breaking The Mould said.

Serena, 31, and Venus, 32, are also due to meet the governor of Lagos State and visit a puberty education class for girls before heading to South Africa on Friday.

"They are coming to Lagos to encourage more women to break moulds that have stood between them and their potential," the statement said.

Worldwide, Nigeria ranks 118 out of 134 countries on the Gender Equality Index, a British Council study released in May, said.

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