The Tennis Federation of Cambodia’s junior initiatives and grassroots programs, particularly those run in six orphanages in two provinces, received high marks from Suresh Menon, the International Tennis Federation Development Officer for Asia, at the end of his three-day visit to the Kingdom.
“I was touched and impressed by these programs run so efficiently by the TFC and Cambodia should serve as a role model for others to follow,” Menon told the Post after he was taken around a tennis camp yesterday for underprivileged boys and girls in Phnom Penh by TFC’s technical director and national team head coach Braen Aneiros.
The Kuala Lumpur-based ITF official, who was last here nearly three years ago, also visited several schools involved in the Tennis 10s and other projects after meeting the national players and a team of TFC coaches
at the National Training Centre.
“The progress is amazing and what the Federation is doing here is incredible given its limited resources and manpower. I can see a very bright future for Cambodian tennis,” he said, while showering accolades for the country’s spectacular debut in the Davis Cup at Doha last year.
“We in ITF will continue to support Cambodia in every way possible.”
Menon expressed his willingness to back an idea that the coastal city of Kep be turned into the Kingdom’s second tennis centre.
“What I saw in Kep on Wednesday took my breath away. I had a chance to see the Tennis Academy of Kep and the orphanage where scores of boys and girls are learning tennis skills. It is a life changing experience that tennis is providing them.”
He also welcomed the idea of creating at least two more courts in Kep in addition to the only international standard court currently available and assured the TFC of the ITF’s fullest logistical backing.
Coach Aneiros said: “A visit by such a high ranking ITF official who knows the region and Cambodia very well is encouraging. We are happy that he could see and assess first-hand the progress we have been making.”
TFC secretary-general Tep Rithivit noted that their relationship with Menon goes back a long way, nearly 12 years.
“Suresh has been part of us all along. With great pride and purpose we have embraced every thing that the ITF has asked us to do. We have gone with their book every step of the way,” said the Secretary.
“We are happy to have Suresh with us so that he as a regional representative gets a clear picture of what is going on and ITF gets an even clearer picture from him.”
Before flying out to Kuala Lumpur yesterday evening Menon, in the company of Aneiros, visited Don Bosco School, where nearly 200 boys and girls are engaged in tennis training.