Uganda look to new dawn at Zone IV Juniors tennis show

Monday September 27 2021
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Grooming. Bagaya is overseeing the youngsters. PHOTO/EDDIE CHICCO

By Allan Darren Kyeyune

Tennis went into limbo when the coronavirus pandemic hit. The silence on lawn courts has been loud for almost two years across Africa.

Prior though, Uganda Tennis Association (UTA) appeared to have risen well from the ruins of a suspension by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) from international action due to arrears, among other technical issues.

Next month, UTA will look to rise again after announcing the rights to host the fifth regional ITF Africa Zone IV Junior tennis championship.

UTA will host five other countries at the U-12 tournament with hopes of qualifying for the continental meeting.

“We’re glad to see the fruits of our aggressive grassroots programme,” said UTA administrator Alvin Bagaya during the event launch at Uganda Olympic Committee gardens in Lugogo on Friday.

“Funding from the National Council of Sports makes it possible for us to have it here,” he said. “Our goal is to be champions and qualify to represent Africa.” 

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Uganda will field teams with Abdul Latif Ssenyondwa, Tony Blair Owecknimungu and Ambrose Byaruhangaa in the boys’ category under the coach and captain John Oduke. The boys’ team won silver at the 2020 edition.

Hilder Afoyorwoth, Stacy Namirembe and Latifah Kampi under coach Edward Odocken will hope to get better than their 2020 bronze.

Only the champions in the boys’ class and the finalists in the girls’ category will qualify to the Africa Junior Tennis Championships.

“As technical people, we are ready to handle them,” said Oduka, who was flanked by Odocken. “We are going to have intense training.” 

The youngsters spent the weekend mingling at the four-age group Kinetic Junior Tennis Championship, a mandatory event by ITF, an initiative used to grade players who are not ranked.

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