By Lim Yong Teck/Red Sports
Yio Chu Kang Sports Centre, Tuesday, June 17, 2014 — Under a collaboration between SportCares Foundation and ActiveSG, 20 disadvantaged youths received the opportunity to learn tennis at the ActiveSG Tennis Camp.
ActiveSG, which is also one of the recommendations of Vision 2030, is an initiative by SportSG that seeks to provide affordable programmes for Singaporeans of all ages and levels.
Through the three-day camp, the SportCares youths were introduced to the fundamentals, such as serving and returning techniques. The youths were also trained to be disciplined and to take responsibility and ownership of the tennis rackets that were assigned to them. The youths also got to interact with and befriend the other participants of the tennis camp.
The youths, alongside the other participants, were instructed and supervised by certified coaches from Tennis Pro Pte Ltd. “Many of these disadvantaged kids do not have a chance to play tennis. I think it’s a good initiative, as it gives them the chance to pick up and learn the sport, without having to worry about the cost of the programme,” said 46-year-old Alvin Neo, who is the managing director of Tennis Pro Pte Ltd.
Throughout the camp, the SportCares youths impressed the coaches with their positive attitudes during the activities. “The SportCares youths are actually very well-behaved and they take instructions very well. In terms of performance, some of them have the potential to go further. They have very natural strokes, considering that they have never played the sport before,” said Neo.
“We wanted to provide the youths with alternatives to sports and not just football,” said Nazir Abdul Hamid, who is the manager at SportCares. “We were looking for a structured clinic that included the facilities and coaches, so ActiveSG was the perfect fit.”
The 42-year-old added, “Most of the youths are from the heartlands, which means they are crazy about football. Learning tennis gives them a whole new window to play and love sport. If they are good, they might be able to pick up the sport in the long run as well. We hope that such programmes can help change their perspective towards sports as well.”
Crest Secondary student, Siti Normilah, said, “To me, tennis is quite interesting and we can learn about the basic techniques It’s fun and quite tiring under the hot sun.” The 14-year-old also plays football at West J United, which is also one of the beneficiaries of the Saturday Night Lights initiative by SportCares.
A task force has also been set up to reach out to educational institutions to provide more opportunities for these underprivileged youths to pick up and develop their skills in the sport. SportCares is looking to build up interest in the sport and hopes to get the youths involved in the upcoming BNP Paribas WTA Finals, which will be held from October 20-26, at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
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