Unearthing future champions
Promoting tennis at an early age among children in the hope to find future stars is the main purpose of a programme called School Tennis Hot-Shots, staged at the Apia Park Tennis Court on Saturday.
School Tennis Hot-shots started last year in October with three schools, Vaiala Beach School, Samoa Primary School and Ah-Mu Academy.
It is sponsored by the Australian Open Pacific Pathway in partnership with I.T.F.
The target group are children aged 4-10, according to the Coordinator of the programme, Tagaloa Yvonne Wilson-Carruthers.
And now the programme is looking at inviting more schools.
Tagaloa said they used to have a similar programme for schools some years ago when it was sponsored by the A.N.Z Bank.
The programme does not just promote tennis, said Tagaloa.
The organisers hope to find raw talents and train them to be “the best players to represent our country”.
“The purpose for this programme is to get the children to go out and enjoy playing tennis,” she said.
“And at the same time, we are keeping our eyes open to see if there are any talented kids who we can work with and help develop their skills and talents.”
Teaching the children some of the basic skills and proper training are some of the very important aspects of the programme.
“We are also planning to extend our programme to Savai’i and Manono because we want to promote the game of tennis and we know there are a lot of talented players out there. They just need to be exposed.
“I’m sure there are a lot of champions out there, and we are hoping that we would discover some of them through this program and nurture them to become who they are destined to be.”
Since October, Tagaloa said a lot of schools have expressed interest.
“The children love playing tennis and they are always eager to play and enjoy playing with other students.
“And it shows that they enjoy the program and we will be happy to see them grow in terms of skills and knowledge on how to play tennis.”
Other Pacific Island Countries are hosting similar programmes to promote tennis starting from the younger generation.
They are looking at bringing in Marist Primary School, Peace Chapel, Robert Louis Stevenson School and St. Mary Primary School in Savalalo next for this programme.