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President Kenyatta says Kenya to build training hub for tennis

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya will build a tennis training hub in Nairobi to make the sport available for people from all walks of life.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said Wednesday,     “Tennis has not been available to our people. We want to make it a public sport that is open to the people. The talent is there but it is facilities that have been lacking.”

The president made the remarks while talking with officials from Ministry of Sports, International Tennis Federation (ITF), African Tennis Confederation and Tennis Kenya on the construction of a tennis training centre worth 7 million U.S. dollars.

Kenyatta said Kenya will follow the example of the United States where many tennis champions horned their skills in public courts rather than exclusive clubs for the well to do.

In a statement issued after the meeting, Kenyatta said the National Training Centre, which will also host the ITF training centre for Africa is bound to put Kenya at the apex of international tennis.

The new facility will make Nairobi a hub for tennis in Eastern and Southern Africa. The centre can also be a source of huge revenue from sports tourism when it hosts tennis features.

Another ITF training centre in Africa is in Morocco but the Kenyan one will have the distinction of being at a high altitude.

Kenyatta said Kenya is a sporting nation but so far little efforts have been made to make tennis a public sport. 

He said the government has already allocated 300,000 dollars to start the construction of the facility and more is expected to be allocated through the next budget.

The President of ITF, David Haggerty, said the public tennis facility and training centre will be one if its kind and will provide opportunity for talent development.

“In the U.S. most of the champions come from public facilities. The home of Kenya tennis can give an opportunity for disadvantaged youth to become tennis stars,” said Haggerty.

Tarak Cherif, the President of African Tennis Confederation, said the management of tennis in Kenya is one of the best in Africa and the new facility will enable the sport to rise to a new level.

Saima Odima, the Acting Director General of Tennis Kenya said Kenya will in June host the Davis Cup. He said 14 countries and regions have already confirmed participation in the event.



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