GL Finance chairman Mitsuji Konoshita has reiterated his firm resolve to push through his pet project of creating Cambodia’s first international standard Tennis Academy, and is optimistic that construction work could begin sometime in 2016 after procedural requirements are completed next year.
“The time frame I am looking at is the huge paperwork for the project to begin in the second or third quarter next year followed by the building phase,” said former tennis pro turned business tycoon during a media conference at the Cambodian Country Club on Friday.
“We need substantial government support, greater involvement of the community and more donors for this multimillion dollar project to succeed,” added Konoshita, who has already pledged a substantial chunk of the investment as personal contribution.
“We looked at various cities. The choice of location is narrowing down to Kep, which has all the facilities. We are still soaking up several interesting ideas as to the ultimate shape of the academy which we hope can match some of the best in the world.
“Our group as a whole runs six tennis academies. We have a lot of experience. Creating a world class facility in Cambodia is a personal dream.”
GLF is the main sponsor of the ongoing $10,000 ITF Cambodian Futures playing at the National Tennis Centre. Business engagements and travel abroad had kept Konoshita away from the first week of action, but he said he was happy to be back in time to watch the second week’s final and rest of the third leg.
“People always ask me why GLF is supporting Tennis Cambodia,” said Konoshita.
“It’s for two reasons – the wonderful work they are doing in developing tennis, and more importantly, we have grown many fold over the last two and a half years. From just two sale points to more than 150 countrywide. We would like to share that success with Tennis Cambodia and the community.
“Five years ago, the world didn’t know or see much of Cambodian tennis. Now it’s a different story. There is so much respect and recognition for Tennis Cambodia and I happen to experience it myself recently during the Shanghai Masters.
“So many top ATP executives made it a point to thank me and our company for supporting Tennis Cambodia, which they credit with doing some amazing things in the last few years.”
Thanking the GLF for the sponsorship of the Futures, Tennis Cambodia secretary- general Tep Rithivit said: “With the GLF chairman’s passion for tennis and his generosity, we are blessed to count them not just as our big sponsors but also as our solid partners.”
Touching on the subject of an international tennis academy, Tep Rithivit suggested that it was unwise to rush through this project. “Our ultimate goal should be to set up a facility which will be highly beneficial to Cambodian players, while opening it up to international participation.”