600 kids attend fun event at tennis fest
TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK
DOHA OVER 600 children took part in a two-hour session on the sidelines of the ongoing Qatar ExxonMobil Open on Wednesday.
The session is a preschool tennis promotional event for boys and girls aged between four and five years. It featured fun activities like face painting, drawing, clowns’ show and fitness demonstration.
Each child received a gift at the end of the session.
With 95 percent of the children being Qatari, it was a huge success in exposing local youth to the game. Around 25 coaches and volunteers also took part in the event at the ‘Kids Zone’.
Khaled al Khelaifi, Qatar Tennis Federation board member and the head of national teams, is the force behind the initiative that seeks to increase the popularity of the game in Qatar.
“We held promotional festivals throughout the year in Doha and the Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2012 gives us the perfect opportunity to expose youngsters to all that tennis has to offer. They can experience the fun of the game, see current stars in action and be inspired to pursue their own tennis goals,” Khelaifi said.
Six to seven of these promotional events are held throughout the year as part of the ‘Tennis 10s’ initiative — ‘10-and-under tennis’ headed by captain Wahid to introduce children under 10 years of age to the game.
This is all in line with the strategy of the national team to grow and promote the game of tennis in Qatar and identify Qatari talent to take to the next level of tennis.
There is a protocol agreement with local schools where national team coaches go to these schools once a week to teach tennis. These schools are chosen by their proximity to the clubs. Tennis has not been in the clubs since 1992 but tennis will make a big comeback in September this year and children at the local schools will have a familiarity and awareness of the sport thanks to the exposure they have received through the initiatives of the Qatar Tennis Federation. Top tennis talents are brought up in the club system internationally, and with tennis coming back to the clubs later this year, it is expected the strategy will work in Doha as well.
Khelaifi thanked the media for their continued support in bringing attention to the efforts and initiatives of the national team as they create programmes for the future tennis stars of Qatar.
Another promotional festival will be held for 12 elementary schools on Thursday. Over 700 children aged six and seven years old are expected attend in the programme.