A five-year veteran of Davis Cup campaigns and head of Tennis Cambodia’s Junior Development, Phalkun Mam was among the 196 delegates attending the two-day inaugural International Tennis Federation’s Worldwide Participation Conference.
The forum concluded on Tuesday at one of London’s iconic sports venues, Chelsea football club’s Stamford Bridge stadium.
The prime objective of the conference was to start a global conversation around a greater participation in and promotion of tennis through the medium of national association case studies, and was presented by a chosen few among the delegates, who touched on strategies and programs that worked well in their countries.
Having received the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Organisational Excellence award last year, Tennis Cambodia was offered the stage to showcase its development activities at all levels under its strategically targeted all encompassing Tennis For All drive.
In his presentation, Phalkun highlighted three aspects that blended well to create huge interest in tennis among the young in particular and the larger population in general.
“My key tag words were ‘create’, ‘integrate’, ‘include’, and we then switched to the idea of ‘Fun and Free’, which eventually led us to a highly effective plan for participation.
“Cambodia’s success story has been based on these simple themes,” Phalkun told The Post on his way back to Phnom Penh.
As an effective example of Tennis Cambodia’s junior development initiative, Phalkun cited a successful teacher training program in Siem Reap’s Wat Bo Primary School long before the training for the children had even begun and which overall had a marked impact on the learning process.
The wheelchair initiative in Battambang province and the inclusion of six orphanages in the federation’s STI and JTI programs alongside the street tennis project and cardio tennis sessions at Olympic Stadium also formed part of his well received address.
“I was determined to take this opportunity to let the world know our amazing ‘survival to revival’ story through our recently adopted slogan of ‘Remember to Remember’.
“This keeps reminding us of the near extinction of tennis during the Khmer Rouge era and how we must remember the lives lost and do them proud by keep working for the cause of tennis,” the Davis Cupper said.
Katrina Adams, the president of the United States Tennis Association and ITF board member, was one of the leading presenters, while the keynote speaker for the WPC was none other than Judy Murray, former Great Britain Fed Cup captain and mother of multiple Grand Slam winner Andy Murray.
“It was vital for us to attend the Worldwide Participation Conference, not only because it was the inaugural event, but because we are an active ITF member nation. In addition, to have Phalkun attend as a speaker and show the other delegates and national associations what is working for us and what might not be was vital for our own good,” said Tennis Cambodia secretary-general Tep Rithivit.
“Following his presentation, many delegates approached him and our federation wanting to find out more about us and our programs. This is exactly what we wanted – to start conversations and coordinate with other nations,” he said.