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