ITF pledges to back tennis development
By Helen Nachilongo and Beatrice Philemon
International Tennis Federation (ITF) has vowed to extend its continued support for the country`s efforts in tennis growth initiatives through provision of equipment.
ITF’s development officer in East Africa Prince Madema said the federation will also provide technical support to coaches and school teachers in the Junior Tennis Initiatives (JTI) project and School Tennis Initiatives (STI).
Madema said ITF would be proud to have tennis game widely developed not only in Tanzania, but also the entire East African region.
Madema said the ITF efforts must also be supported by the media, corporate sponsors and extensive public awareness on developing tennis to breed new generation of players en-route to become professionals.
The South African-based ITF official said of late, Tanzania continues to make tremendous achievement at international tennis stage.
He hailed efforts taken by the Tanzania Tennis Association, TTA, which he said is attaining remarkable achievements towards making the country a hub of modern tennis.
He said ITF is acknowledging an impressive show displayed by the Tanzania tennis players who featured in the continental championship that ended in Casablanca last month.
Tanzania team was ranked 13 in the final standings of the African Junior Championships.
He noted that Tanzanian Shabani Ibrahim (14) was sixth ranked out of 31 players who competed in the championship, the highest rank to be attained by a local player.
Madema also hailed another Tanzanian teenage Justin Joseph who settled on position 15 overall in the 16 and under category, after competing in the last 16.
Joseph captained the Tanzanian team to finish second position in the East African zone behind top placed Burundi.
The ITF official also noted progressive improvement for the Tanzanian team since 2006.
``To be ranked at 13th in the continent and second in East Africa is quite a significant achievement towards tennis development,`` said Madema.
``I draw optimism on the recently launched five-year tennis development plan (2009-2014) that focuses on improvement in all aspects of the sport, including coaching and grassroots tennis promotion in schools, would be feasible,`` said Madema.