Local tennis lovers are in for double delight this coming week as the Botswana Tennis Association (BTA) will host two international junior tennis tournaments.
The two events, the International Junior Championship of Botswana as well as the International Tennis Federation / Confederation of African Tennis (CAT) 34th African Junior Championships will be held from the28th of March to the 2nd of April and from 4th to the 8th April, respectively.
“We believe preparations for both tournaments have gone well this far though we are at the moment operating in a deficit,” BTA’s Public Relations Officer, Nelson Amanze, said in an interview.
He, however, quickly added that the tournaments will go as planned despite the financial situation.
The BTA spokesperson said 210 competitors from all across the globe are expected to grace the international junior championship of Botswana while only 180 competitors are expected for the ITF/CAT Africa junior championships.
Amanze says an 18 member junior team has already been selected to represent the country in the Botswana junior championships.
Concerning the international junior championship of Botswana, Amanze, who is also the tournaments’ Local Organising Committee (LOC) chairperson, said they are expecting junior tennis players from Europe as well as Africa and Americas to attend the tournament. He says the championship will be divided into three categories, mainly the under 14 category, the under 16’s as well as the under 18 category.
The BTA spokesperson says the championship is one of the best in the continent, saying some of the junior players will be using it to gain more ranking points as they plan to turn professional.
He says due to the large number of participants in the event, they have already requested to use the University of Botswana (UB) tennis courts alongside the regular BTA courts to ensure that the games finish within specified dates.
The international Junior championship is sponsored by, among others, Orange Botswana, Stanbic Bank, Barclays Bank, CA Distributors, Choppies as well as Gaborone Sun.
On issues relating to the African junior championships, Amanze says they expect the core of the team that will represent the country in the International Junior championships of Botswana to compete in the tournament.
The event, which is sponsored by both the ITF and CAT, will only be open to junior players from the African continent. Apart from points and good rankings for winners, Amanze says there will also be team events in the tournament, with the team event winners expected to represent Africa in the junior Davies tournaments in Europe.
Amanze says while he expects the local players to do well in both tournaments, there will be no need to put them under pressure as the team ‘is still being built for the future.’ Meanwhile, CAT will host its annual general meeting in Gaborone in April.
The AGM, which is expected to elect CAT president as well as regional presidents will run concurrently with the ITF/ CAT African junior championships will be held at Gaborone Sun on the 5th and 6th of April.