Junior Tennis Tournament Brings Together Young Talent

Date:

A successful Junior Tennis Tournament drew 45 contestants from Orapa, Serowe, and Maun to Maun for an exciting showcase of young talent over the past weekend in Maun.

The tournament featured three categories for both boys and girls, the Under 10 for starters, the Under 12, and the Under 14. The Under 12 category particularly stood out, demonstrating significant growth among the contestants. Meanwhile the Under 10s had the highest turnout and participation.

In the Under 10 red ball division, Leia Neville emerged victorious among the girls, followed by Palesa Masunga in second place and Mae Bradley in third. For the boys, Manuel Setilo took the top spot, with Surya Santoshi and Tlotso Monyothwane securing second and third places, respectively.

In the Under 10 orange ball category, Leia Neville once again claimed first place for the girls, with Amy Kate and Mae Bradley finishing second and third. On the boys’ side, Ethan Merafhe triumphed, followed by Kutlwano Theo Sekoko and Loatso Mokaloba.

The Under 12 category was particularly competitive, with Asante Makhale winning the girls’ division. Kaylyn Neville and Rochchell Van Der Boi followed in second and third places. In the boys’ division, Tuelo Merafhe emerged as the winner, with Thabang Hitler and Taonashe Tazvitadza taking second and third places.

Coach Wellington Sibanda, coordinator of the Junior Tennis Initiative (JTI) in Maun, expressed his optimism about the players’ potential. “I see a lot of potential in these young players and hope their parents continue to support them because sports are a gateway to many opportunities that can propel players into becoming better human beings,” Sebanda stated.

Coach Sebanda praised the Under 12 category, noting the contestants’ determination and growth. “The under 12 category showed growth, with many contestants showing great determination in their games,” he said.

However, Sebanda also highlighted a lack of parental support within the JTI program. “I would like to see more parents from the JTI be more supportive of their children and see this as an avenue to change their children’s lives for the better. I am always ready to train their children, but there seems to be a slack in attendance,” he revealed. Sebanda emphasised that the JTI program, a collaboration between the Botswana Tennis Association and Chobe Holdings, is free for children in government schools and aims to bring tennis to underprivileged children.

“All they need to do is show up, and I will give them the best training I can. I sincerely appeal to all parents in government schools to take advantage of this program and support their children in playing tennis,” Sebanda urged.

As the tournament concluded, all participants left with smiles, having given their best efforts. “While there are winners in this tournament, everyone is a winner for even participating. Simply showing up and trying is a win in itself. Keep up the effort,” Sebanda concluded.

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