A dream has become come true for 22 scholars after they jetted off to London this week to attend the greatest tennis event on earth, the 2017 Wimbledon Championships.
The pupils make up the Under-19 and U15 South African High Schools tennis team, who were capped at a ceremony at OR Tambo International Airport by the President of Tennis South Africa (TSA) Gavin Crookes and TSA CEO Richard Glover.
The team will not only attend the Wimbledon Championships, but will also play two matches against top English tennis establishments, namely Millfield College on indoor grass, and the Lawn tennis association (LTA) Academy in Sutton on red clay.
The players were selected after the recent Junior High Schools Inter-Provincial event in Gauteng North, which included players from all 14 tennis provinces.
The team for England:
Tife Bakre – St Cyprians Cape Town (Western Province)
Maretha Burger – Stellenbosch Hoërskool (Boland)
Anja De Beer – Brandwag Hoërskool Uitenhage (Eastern Cape)
Corin De Waal – Hoer Meisieskool Bloemhof (Western Cape)
Tamsin Hart – St Mary’s Waverley (Gauteng Central)
Olivia Isaacs – Tuks Sport High School (Gauteng North)
Samantha Johnson – St Dominics Boksburg (Gauteng East)
Hunsa Kathrada – Westville Girls High(Kwa-Zulu Natal)
Amukelani Mokone – St Mary’s Waverley (Gauteng Central)
Gizelle Naude – Oranje Meisieskool (Free State)
Sisipho Ndlabhu – Hudson Park East London (Eastern Cape)
Rochelle Pienaar – Hoer Meisieskool Bloemhof (Boland)
Jessica Portwig – Helpmekaar Kollege (Gauteng Central)
Linge Steenkamp – Oranje Meisieskool (Free State)
Maud Tsaura – Curro Hazeldean (Gauteng Central)
Mieke Van Deventer – Helpmekaar Kollege (Gauteng Central)
Kiara Wakeford – Hoërskool Diamantveld (Northern Cape)
Alec Beckley – Hoërskool Linden (Gauteng Central)
Ruben Fortuin – Paul Roos Gimnasium (Boland)
Luke Geduldt – Groote Schuur High (Western Cape)
Kwanda Mbalekwa – Hudson Park East London (Eastern Cape)
Daniel Tam – Hoërskool Cradock (Eastern Cape)
Coach: Marius Masencamp (Gauteng Central)
Managers: David Jaquire (Gauteng North), Jenny Koster (Gauteng North)
Picture courtesy of Stephen Keet Photography
Photo: the Gauteng-based players from left to right; David Jaquire (manager), Alec Beckley, Jessica Portwig, Amukelani Mokone, Samantha Johnson, Mieke Van Deventer, Tamsin Hart and Gavin Crookes (TSA President)