Photographer: None / Not Applicable
Date: 13 Dec 2012
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|13 Dec 2012 - Myanmar|
|Kids day takes centre stage in Myanmar|
The Tennis Federation of Myanmar (TFM) put the pedal down on its mission to develop tennis throughout Myanmar as the Sunkist Kids Tennis Day took centre stage during the 1st Annual Myanmar International Tennis Project from December 4-12.|
The event hosted 1,000 kids from 15 public and private Yangon schools at the national field hockey stadium as part of a wider project designed to boost talent identification and development in tennis, coaching education, a national school for officiating and also to prepare the nation to host the upcoming Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Groups III and IV ties and the South-east Asia Games in 2013.
Aided by Suresh Menom, ITF Development Officer for Asia, Dave Miley and Tim Jones
from ITF Development, who collectively sent the TFM 1000 rackets and slower tennis balls, the Kids Day provided an organised and safe environment that introduced youngsters to tennis in a fun setting under the Tennis10s format, a supporting programme of the ITF Tennis Play and Stay campaign, launched in 2007 and aimed at increasing tennis participation worldwide.
ATP player Aisam-Ul-Haq-Qureshi and Noppawan Lertcheewakarn of the WTA, who both came from ITF Development Junior Teams, provided the star quality while former ATP player Jean-Philippe Fleurian, who specializes in 10-and-under tennis, was also on hand at the event.
“We are very happy to find projects like these around the world, where we can give back to those who need it most,” said Fleurian. “With this project in Myanmar, we felt like we could make a world of difference for teachers and kids who need it most.”
Kids Day started with a bang as 1000 children danced Gangham Style and a festival feeling swept over the pitch. Everywhere kids were smiling while participating in tennis and the message was loud and clear: tennis is happy, healthy and fun.
But the benefits don’t stop there.
Qureshi, speaking at a conference at the International School of Yangon the evening before Kids Day, had spoken of how the ITF Tournaments and ATP tennis teaches people to understand and respect others right to have differing religious and political views as well as ethnic backgrounds.
“Tennis gives us the tools for a better life. Through tennis, I have experienced that sport can bring tolerance, counter discrimination and eradicate prejudices,” said Qureshi. “The true beauty of tennis is that it is about becoming better a person. The education that a person gains through sport is everlasting.”
Tennis10s is a supporting programme of the Tennis Play and Stay campaign, the ITF’s
global initiative launched in 2007 aimed at increasing tennis participation worldwide. Tennis Play and Stay centres around the slogan of ‘Serve, Rally and Score’ and seeks to promote tennis as an easy, fun and healthy sport. Fundamental to the campaign is the use of slower balls by coaches working with starter players, ensuring that their first experience of tennis is a positive one by serving, rallying and scoring from the first lesson.