David Oringa believes the moment has arrived for tennis to establish itself as a major sport in upcountry areas, as he predicts the Arthur Ashe Tennis Program, which rolled off on Saturday in Hoima, will inspire a new generation of stars into the sport.
Speaking at the one-day training held at St. John Bosco Minor Seminary, Hoima, where he led youngsters, a majority first timers, Oringa said the training camps which will be held in four other virgin areas, could be set for a shift in focus. Oringa was in attendance alongside national teammate Boris Aguma and national coaches including; Patrick Luyinda, Anthony Abok, Erika Isingoma and Edward Odokocha, among others, hopes the game is about to move to a new level.
“The grassroots remain a major catchment area for any sport. Such camps will help tennis snatch the attention of young people,” Oringa said.
“Tennis has been played mainly in Kampala but it has been hard to get into the rural areas.
“The Arthur Ashe Tennis Program is an opportunity for the sport to spread its wings,” he said.
The Arthur Ashe Tennis Program is aimed at empowering youth while also providing HIV/Aids education. It is organised by the US Mission alongside Tartan Burners Athletic Club, the Uganda Tennis Association, and the Uganda Network of Young People Living with HIV/Aids (UNYPA).
Arthur Ashe was the first and the only African-American male tennis player, so far, to win the US Open and Wimbledon Singles titles.
Ashe contracted Aids through a blood transfusion before he became an HIV/Aids activist, raising awareness and money while advocating for safe sex and sex education before he died in 1993.
Five selected players for each gender will on February 22, 2020, attend a grand finale at the Lugogo Tennis Club in Kampala.