Johannesburg, South Africa – Tennis history was made in Soweto this past Saturday morning (26 October) when the finals of the first ever Soweto Schools Tennis League were completed at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Complex in Jabavu.
After six long weeks of the mini tennis league, the league reached its final stages on Saturday where the best of the best was decided.
Supported by the Department of Sport and Recreation, Tennis South Africa (TSA) launched the Soweto Schools Tennis League in September. Every Wednesday and Friday since launch date, junior players between the ages of 8 and 12 years participated in the league. The participating schools were Rutegang Primary, Molaetsa Primary, Makola Primary, Igugu Primary, Tshebedisanong Primary and Mohloding Primary. These six schools played each other on a round robin basis with the last round robin being played on Saturday.
Tshebedisanong Primary School from Central Western Jabavu emerged as the inaugural champions beating off a strong challenge from second placed Mohloding Primary A and third placed Mohloding Primary B teams.
Principal of the winning school, Joseph More accepted the winning trophy from President of Tennis South Africa Bongani Zondi on behalf of the jubilant Tshebedisong team.
“We are delighted to have won the trophy. Tennis is such a beautiful game and over the years we have encouraged our pupils to take up the game. With the Arthur Ashe Tennis Complex a stone’s throw away from our school, we hope that our pupils will join us at the facility to develop and promote the game within the school and Soweto” said More.
This is the first league of its kind in South Africa. TSA adopted the International Tennis Federation (ITF) model of coaching, and the theory of it being that teaching tennis should be progressed according to the age and physical growth of a child. It is a concept that coaches and schools have not fully bought into in South Africa. The league was played with red, orange and green balls showcasing that tennis can be played by all young ages and abilities.
Tennis South Africa President, Bongani Zondi confirmed that it was his organisation’s intention to have many more schools participating in next year’s Soweto League.