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Over 100 junior tennis players at nationals

by Rodney Pienaar

About 110 junior tennis players are expected to take part in the upcoming FNB School League Nationals slated for Windhoek’s central tennis court this coming weekend.

The best three school teams from all the region of the country have been invited to compete in the Nationals the president of Namibia Tennis Association (NTA) Samson Kaulinge has told The Villager.

“This is one of the biggest games we have been waiting to see. This games will also assist the players to improve the world rankings. The junior will have an opportunity to showcase their talents. Games of this magnitude do happen only one or twice in a year, so we are looking at best juniors players from all the regions,” Kaulinge said. 

He further added that exposure of top three of players had been invited from each age group starting from under eight boys and girls. 

The junior players stand a chance to take part in all the international tournaments that are held in countries such as Mauritius, South Africa, Tunisia and Botswana when they improve the International Tennis Federation (ITF) rankings at this national tournament. 

“As participants the accumulate points in this national tournament. We will look at how individual players perform compared to the rest of Africa. 

“In tennis, as a sporting code, players need to progress to be one of the best players. Players are being monitored as they grow, only of player quit playing tennis official than we stop monitoring. We are monitoring it players perform and every tournament or league,” he said.

He further added that Namibia’s junior players are ranked as a very regular player compared to players of some of the African countries that are ranked in the ITF rankings. 

Furthermore, Kaulinge explained that NTA is hosting tournaments through the year so that Namibian junior players gain experience.

“We spend huge amounts of funds on this tournament annually. Naturally, tennis is one of the most expensive individual sports, but we are trying to bring our junior to a level where they will be competitive. A level whereby we can one day say that we did an excellent job in grooming these players,” he said. 

He further added that the association roughly spends about N$200 000 on tournaments and the league's games annually.

FNB has solely sponsored the upcoming tournament as the primary sponsor of the national competition. 

According to Kaulinge, in January early this year the NTA also successfully hosted a high ITF junior tournament, and the top under 14 and 16 players from Southern Africa countries took part in the competition with 75 boys and 63 boys battling it out on the central tennis court. 

The tournament was organised by the Confederation of African Tennis in conjunction with the ITF and the NTA with the support of the Grand Slam Development Funds. 

“We have proved that we are very much capable of hosting tournaments of this magnitude. We are looking into hosting more international tournaments in Namibia shortly,” he said.