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Friday, July 12, 2024

Tennis gains traction in Matabeleland North

Story by Tichaona Kurewa

TENNIS is being taken to various parts of the country, with the second edition of the annual Harris Motors Victoria Falls Seniors Tennis Tournament attracting five provinces over the weekend.

Sporting activities such as tennis were largely a preserve of those in major cities such as Harare and Bulawayo. Still, the script is set to change, with the sport growing in popularity even in resort cities such as Victoria Falls.

In line with the government’s devolution mantra, last year, Harris Auto in partnership with Matabeleland North Tennis Board launched an annual tournament in the province which is running for the second time this year.

The move has generated more interest in the sport as confirmed by participants.

“Tennis is an outstanding sport because it keeps us fit, and helps us to make a living as players and coaches.

“It is a good sport especially for a girl child as it will keep them out of trouble, and it prevents early pregnancies and indulging in drugs and substance abuse.

“It is a sport that can help our communities as it will make the youths go out of the streets where they do drugs and a lot of things, so if they play tennis it will keep them busy,” said players who spoke to ZBC News.

The future of the sport is bright in the province with all stakeholders implored to pull all stops to put in place relevant infrastructure.

“The quality of play was impressive, we hope it will continue on this trajectory. Since last year the tournament has grown as we now have clubs from other provinces. We will continue to do everything within our means to grow the sport, not only in Matabeleland but throughout the country,” said Harris Auto’s Managing Director, Mr Brad Harris.

“As much as we want to encourage people to play tennis, we are having a challenge with infrastructure, I would like to thank Harris Motors for sponsoring this tournament and Elephant Hills hotel for providing the facilities. I would like to encourage schools, local authorities and the government through the Ministry of Sports to work together in making sure there is infrastructure for tennis and then we can encourage people to play tennis,” said Mat North Tennis Board Chairperson, Warren Ncube.

The annual tournament is in line with the National Development Strategy One which targets to increase participation in sport and recreation activities from 15 percent in 2020 to 27 percent by 2025.

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