The Tennis Federation of Cambodia (TFC) organised a one-day children’s tennis festival at the National Training Centre on Saturday as part of the newly established Junior Tennis Initiative (JTI) sponsored by Davis Cup partners NagaWorld.
“It was a great day of tennis for Cambodia both in terms of numbers and quality. The kids thoroughly enjoyed the outing, and we had a glimpse of the future,” TFC Secretary General Tep Rithivit told the Post, while also commending NagaWorld for their whole-hearted support of the initiative.
A total of 60 children aged between eight and 15, drawn from four schools in and around Phnom Penh, took part in the festival.
“We had the best of tennis students from Sunrise School in Takhmao, Holy Baby from Tonle Bati, PSE [Pour un Sourire d’Enfant], Preah Norodom Primary School and Chaktomuk Primary School. Kids from Kep could not participate, as they will have their own event next month,” added Rithivit.
The training centre was a beehive of activity from 8:30am to 3pm as the young players swarmed across the three-court arena.
During the first session, the children were grouped by their age and skill levels, allowing them a 30-minute singles play time. Then they formed pairs and played doubles under the watchful eyes of the TFC coaching staff.
But the most exciting experience for the youngsters was playing a few doubles points against national team players Bun Kenny and Long Samneang before watching the two Davis Cuppers play a 20-minute exhibition match.
“The kids were thrilled to be on the same court as Kenny and Samneang, and trade a few strokes with them. We could clearly see that joy and excitement,” said national team coach Braen Aneiros, who organised the event with the help of his coaching team.
In the post-lunch session, the best four boys played each other in a competitive spirit, earning the admiration of TFC officials.
“I am very happy with the level of tennis that the kids showed us, and we will have three more similar festivals during the year,” added Aneiros
For children aged 10 and under, there was a skills competition with glittering medals awarded for good performance. To encourage and inspire them to build on this unique experience, the TFC presented participation certificates to all.
To contact the reporter on this story: H S Manjunath at [email protected]