The Tennis Federation of Cambodia announces a trio of new initiatives that aim at developing new talent among players and coaches in the Kingdom
Photo by: Robert Davis
TFC Technical Director Braen Aneiros (right) conducts a mini-tennis session at Preah Norodom School in Phnom Penh February 1.
A new chapter in Cambodian tennis history is set to begin. With the Tennis Federation of Cambodia (TFC) nearing the April 25 completion date of construction on its first-ever tennis centre, three new programmes are set to begin.
Cham Prasidh, the Minister of Commerce and President of the TFC, had asked the federation to prioritise its grassroots programme and help encourage youths to use tennis as a vehicle for improving their lives.
Following this directive, and through sponsorship from local internet provider Ezecom, the TFC will introduce mini-tennis and junior training programmes as well as a long-term course study for university students preparing for a physical education degree.
The TFC recently began a mini-tennis (age 10 and under) programme at Preah Norodom School in Phnom Penh. There are also plans to begin a new pilot programme at the Lycee Renee Descartes in May. TFC Technical Director Braen Aneiros and his staff visit the schools and show children the basics of tennis through specific eye-hand coordination exercises.
“Our objective is to introduce kids to tennis and get them excited to play,” says Aneiros. “We want them to have fun while getting exercise, and if they would like to further develop their tennis then we have options for them at the TFC centre. Also, we will be identifying those children who show a special talent for tennis and enroll them in the ITF Junior Tennis Initiative Programme.”
Junior training programme
Beginning May 3 and running until June 11, the TFC will hold its first-ever junior training programme for beginners, intermediate and advanced levels at the TFC Centre. Training will be conducted by coach Aneiros and his staff, which will also include national team players.
“It is our philosophy that each [senior] player gives back to the game by helping the younger players,” said TFC secretary general Tep Rithivit. “Our national team players are good people, and they can help the new generation by sharing their skills and experiences.”
On May 17, the TFC will commence a tennis course designed specifically for university students of physical education that will teach them to play, and eventually teach, tennis. This programme has met with great success in countries such as Peru, El Salvador, the United States and the Ukraine.
“As tennis begins to grow and develop in Cambodia, obviously we will need more tennis teachers,” notes Tep Rithivit. “We have two objectives with this programme. First, to create a professional tennis teachers association of Cambodia that is recognised by the Ministry of Education with accreditation. Second, to create employment and income for graduates of the programme. This programme will be a three-year programme that will match the rising demand of new tennis players.”
Praise for the federation
Propelled by its president, the federation has started to tackle the obstacles that often cause development in Southeast Asia to move at a crawl. Suresh Menon, International Tennis Fedration Development Officer for Asia, has visited Cambodia several times and is impressed with what the TFC is doing.
“National associations must realise that they are in the business of selling tennis and take a professional approach in order to increase participation,” asserted Menom. “Creating greater awareness on the importance of improving coaches’ education in Asia, the TFC has shown great improvement and dedication in these areas.”
Aneiros goes to Europe
Coach Aneiros, who began working with the TFC in September last year, has been granted leave for one month to join legendary tennis coach Bob Brett in San Remo, Italy. Brett is recognized as one of the greatest tennis coaches of all time, having tutored greats such as Ivan Lendl, Goran Ivanisevic and current star Marin Cilic. Brett has accepted Coach Aneiros to help train Cilic and young talents from Japan and Taiwan.
“Coach Braen [Aneiros] is doing a great job here for us,” says Bob Brett. “He has the talent to become a very good coach. Cambodia will surely prosper under his direction.”
An appeal to the public
The TFC is calling on all tennis enthusiasts who reside in the Kingdom to help share their knowledge of the sport with local children. All levels of ability are accepted.
“We are trying to create a synergy in tennis here that will promote the sport,” says Tep Rithivit. “All that is required from any interested players is enthusiasm and a desire to be a part of the tennis family.”
Anyone interested in the projects can visit the TFC website at Tennisfederationcambodia.com or send an email to [email protected].