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IN a positive development that is expected to create opportunities for young players to get more exposure in tennis and global recognition, one of the country’s top players Takanyi Garanganga has come up with an initiative that will see a series of tournaments being held in the country.
The first tournament is scheduled to run from tomorrow to December 22 at Old Hararians Sports Club.
The tournaments will run under the title Garaz Tennis Events and will for the first time in Zimbabwe provide children between the ages of eight to 18 and from all socioeconomic backgrounds with an opportunity for international recognition and a chance for tennis scholarships to colleges in the United States.
The Garaz events will be held in partnership with Total Greatness International — a non-profit organisation — and the Embassy of Switzerland.
Linsent Chitiyo, who is a consultant for the initiative, said the events are about giving exposure to young players. “Garaz Tennis Events seeks to give young players exposure through tournaments. So that exposure through tournaments is where Total Greatness International is coming into partnership using Universal Tennis Rating (UTR), the global rating.
“It gives you the player’s statistics performance, it’s not only looking at ranking but this one then gives your analytical playing level using your scores. It’s about increasing credibility to the local tournaments we have. Yes, local tournaments have local rankings but at the same time they will be visible on the international platform,” said Chitiyo.
UTR is used for the official college tennis recruiting system for United States colleges.
The tournament is set to feature players from different backgrounds drawn from various communities and development centres.
“For this tournament there are entrances from Mufakose, Mabvuku and Chitungwiza. There is also a group coming from Bindura. And these players will be provided with transport to come and play. But all this will be done within the Covid-19 regulations.
“This is where the Swiss Embassy is coming in to say those under-priviledged children can they have the same privileges like any other child who is coming to play in the tournaments. What kind of support do they need, what is it exactly that they need.
“The Garaz Events was an idea to say, we can assist these kids by giving them exposure to various tournaments. And we are looking at running 10 more series of the same tournament but in different provinces,” said Chitiyo.
The tournaments are expected to keep on rotating in the provinces, giving opportunities to the players for continuous development.
“It has to keep on rotating in provinces but giving access to these kids to tournaments for continued development. So when we host the ITF tournaments we have a broad development base because they are being given opportunities to compete in competitive environments,” said Chitiyo.
This is also set to complement development programmes being done by the national association.