The much-awaited prestigious African Junior Championship (AJC) tournament, which will be staged in Botswana, has attracted at least 12 local sponsors.
The sponsors comprise of Debswana Diamond Company, First National Bank Botswana, Motor Centre and Orange Botswana. They have pledged P50 000 each while Barclays Bank, Stanbic Bank Botswana and Standard Chartered Bank also donated P20 000 each towards the looming tournament.
Other sponsors include Gaborone Sun hotel, African Alliance, Sanitas, Creative Thinking and the University of Botswana (UB). The international Tennis Federation (ITF) will spend around P700 000 to cover other costs of the tournament that is to be held in Botswana for the second successive time. At least 29 countries will take part in this year’s tournament.
The AJC competitions are for players Under 14, Under 16 and Under 18 and will comprise 110 boys, 99 girls and 40 coaches.
The competitive event will kick off with the qualifiers for the International Junior Championships on March 17, followed by the International Junior Championships of Botswana which is open to all players of under the age o 18 years from across the world.
This will be followed by the ITF/CAT African Junior Championships, which is strictly for African nations that qualified at the Zonal Qualifiers, and it will be held from March 24 to March 29.
The AJC event will wrap up with the continental qualifiers for Juniors Davis Cup by BNP Paribas Under 16, Junior federation Cup by BNP Paribas under 16 and World Junior Championships Under 14.
Speaking at the handover ceremony on Thursday, Botswana Tennis Association president Judge Mookodi said it was a true privilege for BTA to host such a prestigious tournament for the second consecutive year.
He said the tournament gives more local players an opportunity to develop into true tennis professionals when they take part in such a competitive event.
“The benefits that we, as BTA, will gain are that local players gain experience and local officials get the opportunities of officiating at competitions of that level,” he said.
He added that the commitment and input of the sponsors to the development of tennis in this country are much appreciated.
He said that for BTA to host the tournament it is testimony that ITF has confidence in the BTA.
“It is a vote of confidence on the part of ITF to give us the opportunity to host the event again. It testifies that we live for the future. We expect to attract more players and countries this year,” he said.