- Tanya Okpala was No 1 in the ladies Lawn Tennis singles ranking in the 1990s, winning several singles and doubles titles including the CBN Senior Championships
Anambra State Governor, Charles Soludo, recently announced the successful rescue of former lawn tennis champion, Tanya Okpala, who was found wandering the streets of Awka, the state’s capital.
Ms. Okpala, who had represented Nigeria in a female lawn tennis tournament during the 1990s, was discovered homeless and struggling with suspected mental illness, as depicted in a viral video. The daughter of a Nigerian father from Anambra State and a mother from Belarus, she lamented her abandonment and mistreatment, citing discrimination due to her mixed heritage.
In the widely circulated video, Ms. Okpala recounted experiences of ridicule and neglect, expressing her desire to return to her roots and care for her daughter.
Despite identifying strongly with her Igbo heritage, she revealed instances of derogatory treatment and pleaded for assistance. Governor Soludo, acknowledging the public outcry over the distressing footage, pledged the state government’s intervention to ensure Ms. Okpala’s rehabilitation and eventual reunion with her family.
Responding to the urgent need for action, Governor Soludo directed the Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare, Ify Obinabo, to oversee Ms. Okpala’s rehabilitation process.