The first edition of the Arthur Ashe Tennis Program concludes tomorrow at Lugogo Tennis Club after countrywide tours during the last half of last year.
And Phil Dimon, the behind-the-scenes person, who also acts as the spokesman of the U.S. Embassy in Kampala promises a truly grand finale.
The tennis camps which were held in Hoima, Arua, Gulu Jinja and Fort Portal, celebrate the life of Arthur Ashe, the first black tennis player on the US Davis Cup team and the only black man ever to win the singles title at Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Australian Open.
Through the camps, youngsters were taken through basics as well as HIV/Aids awareness, a masterstroke that marked the last days of Ashe after he was diagnosed with the disease through a blood transfusion.
“The five tennis clinics that we held at the end of last year were a major success. We empowered 250 youth throughout the country with basic tennis skills and important knowledge and awareness about HIV. The youth showed great potential in the sport of tennis, and they demonstrated courage in sharing what they knew about HIV. Nearly 1,000 people in Uganda are infected with HIV each week, so we all need to step up our efforts to fight this disease,” Dimon said yesterday.
During the Saturday finale, there will be exhibition doubles matches between top US and Ugandan players as well as free health services and HIV/Aids education.
The camps were held in partnership with the US Mission in Uganda, Uganda Network of People Living with HIV/Aids and the Tartan Burners Athletics Club (Tbac).
“I’m really excited about the contribution we have made to the sport of tennis,” Robert Egessa, the president of Tbac, says. “The talks about HIV and Aids were an eye opener to the youth and I am eager to see how the can develop in the future.”
Vivian Nabanoba, the Miss Y+ 2018 will talk about peers teaching on HIV and Aids issues is important in reshaping the spread of the disease and why learning to live with the virus is critical for our future.
At a glance
Arthur Ashe Tennis Program
Grand finale - 1-5pm
When: Saturday Feb 22
Where: Lugogo Tennis Club