The Tennis Federation of Cambodia is spreading its highly successful Junior Tennis Initiative to two schools in the greater Battambang area, boosting the number of schools and orphanages nationwide covered under the program to 18.
The program was launched last week at La Paloma, a centre for the disabled, and Tanhen, located in a parish founded by a bishop nearly 30 years ago where under-privileged children from the community partake in various activities and attend school for free.
Heading the initiative is 26-year-old Irene Rehberger Bescos of Spain, who was ranked 400 on the WTA list when she retired from competitive tennis in 2009 after a playing career stretching to 200 singles and 50 doubles matches on the Tour.
“We are fortunate to have some one with such wonderful tennis credentials as Irene Rehberger Bescos to support us, and the federation is extremely happy to take tennis to yet another province where there is so much of potential to be tapped,” TFC secretary-general Tep Rithivit told the Post yesterday.
A TFC team comprising Tep Rithivit, national coach and technical director Braen Aneiros, sponsorship co-ordinator Vincent Oliver and head of junior development Mam Phalkun visited La Paloma and Tanhen schools to get the programme up and running.
“We have done something that has always been close to our hearts – to work with disabled children. This is also one of ITF’s priorities. We will focus on this and help bring greater cheer in the lives of the disabled through tennis,” added Tep Rithivit.
Meanwhile, Mam Phalkun will be heading to Siem Reap next week to work out the logistics to extend the JTI to a couple of schools in the province.