Designed by the United Kingdom based Ace Coaching in partnership with the Victorian Tennis Academy, the Junior Aces Program aims to develop, nurture and promote diverse tennis talents across the world. Kenya is the first African nation to benefit from such a project and organizers hope that Kenya and other nations from East Africa will send tennis players to play in the WTA Tours.
The program is much like the USTA’s 10 and Under youth initiative in that it provides tennis court equipment, new tennis nets and refurbished courts to the America’s youth.
"We shall work with kids from the slums because that’s where the tennis talents are," said Tennis Academy], director Collins Agwanda. “Our target now is to see more than 1000 less fortunate kids across the slums in Western Kenya playing tennis daily, starting in 2012.”
The launch attracted roughly 200 junior players from various localities in Western Kenya, a member of the nation’s Parliament and 15 schools from the region. According to the Ace Coaching website, the program is a unique online tennis community aiming to provide the necessary services and education for coaches, players and fans.
Founder and Director, Clive Carrigan, said he is proud to be associated with Kenya’s program and promises to work closely with Victoria Tennis Academy to identify future tennis stars. However, Junior Aces does not have sufficient tennis equipment for the participants so program coordinators are relying on public donations.
Young players practice on a temporary make-shift tennis court in the slums of Kisumu. Court lines are drawn with white chalk on a large dirt-field and the tennis net is falling apart.
Florida A & M University Associate Professor, Dr. Barack Abonyo plans to open talks with local universities in the U.S. to provide full tennis scholarships to less fortunate youth supported by the Victoria Tennis Academy.
Carrigan is confident in the future of the program: “The launch of junior aces in Kenya is a very important start for the program. Initial applications of the system in the UK are revealing great results and motivation to improve for the players. This scheme is designed to train and develop the skills of junior players to a high level. I believe this skills development program will have a huge impact on the future of the junior players from Kenya. I am 100% convinced that the juniors in Kenya will enjoy the challenge of improving under the coach’s instruction, and I very much look forward to providing many certificates to the juniors over the coming years.”
Originally based in Australia, the Victorian Tennis Academy was founded more than 3 decades ago to motivate and inspire more people to play tennis, through improved tennis court conditions such as new tennis nets and donated tennis equipment.
The company manages various tennis centers and is recognized as one of the leading providers of grass roots coaching in Australia. Their mission is “to provide inspirational tennis programs that are delivered with enthusiasm using the right equipment and learning principles in a positive environment.”
Thanks to the generosity of Kenya Lawn Tennis Association, the Victoria Tennis Academy has received some racquets and tennis balls but more tennis equipment is needed. To contribute or provide any assistance, please contact Collins Agwanda at collinsagwanda@
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