The local business community in Kep has generously donated 20 bicycles to budding tennis players of the coastal resort town as part of its commitment to support the Tennis Federation of Cambodia’s Schools Tennis Initiative and other grassroots programs.
In a small but significant function at Villa Romonea yesterday, 10 players from the Academy of Kep and an equal number from ASPECA orphanage received a bike each directly from its sponsor, enhancing personal relationships while adding a sentimental touch to this novel scheme.
The idea to provide these youngsters with this useful mode of transportation is to largely save on time and expenses in commuting long distances to Villa Romonea, which has the only standard court in the town of 45,000 residents.
While the kids had been dealt a vital lesson in responsible living, the sponsors in return for their generosity will have their brands and business interests well displayed through their logos and small signs on the bikes.
“It is a win-win for both the kids and the sponsors and a huge boost for tennis. I am confident this example will be followed in other parts of the country,” TFC Secretary General Tep Rithivit told the Post.
“It is not just tennis that we teach to these kids. We help them develop their life skills at the same time.”
In order to instill a sense of responsibility in those who got the bikes, the TFC made every recipient sign a contract which clearly stated that the bikes belonged to the Federation and are being given to children based on their merit reflected in their performance and attitude on a tennis court and also in a classroom.
But the biggest cheer was reserved for an announcement made by Tep Rithivit regarding a new insurance scheme set up by the TFC.
“With the initiatives we begin comes responsibility on our part. So each player will be insured up to US$1,500 by Asia Insurance,” added the Secretary.
A jubilant Sen Sophon, Kep’s most promising young talent, said: “I am so happy today. I always wanted a bicycle of my own and now I have one. I’m also really happy that I can use it to take to tennis training.”
Fellow tennis player Meas Toukna told the Post: “This year I haven’t been able to play as much as I wanted because I have started to work a little. But now that I have all this support from the community it motivates me to try to play more in the future.”
At yesterday’s gathering, the TFC’s head of junior and schools initiatives, Mam Phalkun, and sponsorship co-ordinator Vincent Oliver explained to the kids the Federation’s agenda and plans that are in the pipeline.