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Small things can make a big difference: A new direction for tennis in Sierra Leone
Written by Moses A. Kargbo   
Thursday, 16 March 2017 21:00

He started as a ball boy at age 5, retrieving and supplying balls for players and officials at the Hill Station Tennis Courts, whether during training sessions or at local tournaments. Ball boys and girls are key auxiliaries in sportssuch as football, cricket, tennis, baseball, and basketball as their activities help to speed up play by reducing the amount of inactive time. Being involved in the game at such a tender age, he had only one motivation: to play tennis at the highest level and represent Sierra Leone at international tournaments thus following in the tracks of great Sierra Leonean tennis prodigies like Kelfala Samura, Joseph Amara, Vincent Syvalie, and Edward Kamara, whom he watched growing up.

It didn’t take long for young Amidu Dumbuya’s talent to be spotted. The promising tennis kid he was, it took Amidu just 5 years to break into the national junior tennis ranks as at age 10, he started representing Sierra Leone at international junior tennis tournaments. He went on to represent the country at all levels, and was a key figure for the Men’s at various international tourneys.

He participated in major tennis tournaments including the All Africa Games in Abuja and the Islamic Games in Saudi Arabia, among others.

Amidu brought his illustrious playing career to a halt in 2003 and went straight into coaching to help prepare the future generation of Sierra Leonean tennis stars. He earned his first professional coaching certificate in 2003 – Level One. He did his Level Two coaching course in Valencia, Spain and was appointed head coach of the Sierra Leone Tennis Association (SLTA) in 2010. However, he was immediately confronted with the problem of limited training facilities and inadequate funding to support a program for the development of young professionals.

Amidst a plethora of constraints, the Sierra Leone Tennis Association has been struggling with developing its tennis courts at Hill Station in the west-end of Freetown for the past 6 years due to lack of funding and support from the country’s Sports Ministry. But that didn’t diminish the desire in Amidu to help young and passionate lovers of the game achieve their dream. And his resilience paid off after meeting a woman who herself spends extra hours after work hitting a tennis ball with a racquet.

“It was difficult for us to have equipment like tennis balls: head balls and foam balls. The equipment we received from the ITF were not enough for the country,” said Amidu.

It all started 7 years ago when Amidu met Cari Votava, Senior Financial Sector Specialist at the World Bank working on Sierra Leone. They both forged a friendship that would later lead to the rekindling of the hopes of young Sierra Leonean boys and girls who see tennis as their future. Work has finally begun at the Hill Station courts and will involve the construction of four outdoor tennis courts and an indoor court.

Since tennis has over the years not received the support it requires from the ministry responsible forsports, unlike football, Cari –a former gymnast for 20 years who also played tennis from the age of 33 – has been providing Amidu with tennis equipment and financial support to help in the training of the kids to enable them to upgrade tennis skills and try to fulfill their dream of becoming stars and competing at professional level.

“Seven years ago when I started working in Sierra Leone, I saw there was a tennis court and was looking for somebody to play, and the hotel [Country Lodge] told me to call Amidu. And we started playing. He started telling me that he trains young children and I was very interested in that,” said Cari, 50, who has been supporting Amidu and the kids keen to learn tennis. “I bring tennis racquets, I bring strings, I try to bring a little bit of equipment here and there on my trips. And I help him train the kids, some of whom are now grown-up and very high level champions.”

The tennis project at Hill Station finally got underway in January after the International Tennis Federation (ITF) granted money to renovate the courts. Amidu was able to attract the attention of the ITF to fund the construction some 6 years ago but did not immediately receive the necessary approvals from the government. Their efforts were further hampered by the Ebola outbreak. The US$20,000 project is being facilitated by the SLTA with Amidu, the head national coach, one of the lead facilitators. Though the project is underway five years late, Cari is happy that things are now moving forward and will result in five new courts so that all the coaches could involve in developing junior tennis training programs to enable the kids compete at higher levels.

Cari has been bringing used tennis racquets collected from her Washington D.C. tennis pals for years. She also brought strings, grips and other necessary accessories donated by Tennis Warehouse, a tennis equipment supply company in California. Few years back, she collected US$3,000 in donations from her tennis friends to cover the costs to fly the head coach and a couple of the top junior players to the ITF’s West African Regional Junior Tournament (usually held in January). This was before the Ebola outbreak in 2014; and it was the last time the Juniors participated in an ITF tournament. 

The SLTA is no stranger to funding difficulties to support their teams to travel to even neighboring countries to compete against other experienced players. But forsoldiering through these difficulties, Cari thinks Amidu is the real hero of Sierra Leonean tennis as “he sacrifices a lot to train the kids”. 

“He was the one that got the ITF to agree to fund renovating the Hill Station courts, and waited patiently for some time for the Sierra Leone government to give approval,” said Cari. “I was angry and frustrated for him all these years - but he just maintained a big smile and positive attitude.”

Amidu and the tennis kids are used to disappointments since the Ministry of Sports provides almost no support to tennis programs in the country. Cari believes she is just a supporter of Amidu by helping to train the kids and bringing strings, equipment and donating money to cover school fees of the kids.

Amidu’s wish is for at least two of the courts to be ready before the rainy season sets in, so that the game will not be interrupted as the construction work continues.

The construction of the new courts will no doubt accelerate the development of the game of tennis in Sierra Leone and help groom tomorrow’s champions. This is an example of how the little things – as exemplified by Cari – can make a big difference in Salone.

 

Editorial

2016 Global Peace Conference to be held in Freetown---as IPRA 50th Birthday confab ends in Istanbul

 

The 26th biennal conference of the Internatonal Peace Research Association (IPRA) is billed to take place in  Freetown, Sierra Leone in November 2016, marking the second time Africa has hosted the conference since the founding of IPRA in 1964. This was announced following the re-election of  the two IPRA Secretaries-general, Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw (pictured) and Dr Nesrin Kenar, who co-ordinated the 25th  IPRA conference in Turkey,  at the organisation’s administrative meeting on August 14 during the 25th  IPRA  conference in Istanbul  to serve a second term of two years.

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Business News

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The Sierra Leone Embassy in China in collaboration with the Beijing Chamber of Commerce for Cultural Industries on Saturday 17th June, 2017 launched the China-Sierra Leone Hand-in-Hand International Foundation with a view of cultivating good citizenship by enhancing social, environmental, cultural and economic wellbeing of communities in Sierra Leone.

It also will among others, serve as a bridge of friendship between the two nations in a bid to promote international culture and art exchanges and contribute to economic development.

Speaking at the event, Madam Kumba Alice Momoh, the embassy’s Chargé d'Affaires   referred to the launch of the China-Sierra Leone Hand-In-Hand International Foundation as “the birth of a new era during a period that Sierra Leone is celebrating 46 years of bilateral relationship with China”

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The program you will give journalists the opportunity to cover major domestic and international events in China such as the upcoming Two Sessions, i.e, the 5th Session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) and the 5th Session of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese

People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) (similar to Parliamentary sessions in many countries) in March, the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May and the 9th BRICS Summit in Autumn this year.

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REVIEWING THE JUNE 2017 ECOWAS SUMMIT

A PASSIONATE LETTER TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT:  44TH EDITION

REVIEWING THE JUNE 2017 ECOWAS SUMMIT
 Your Excellency Sir,
 It’s been six months since I subscribed to my usual publications of this piece. And this is primarily because I have been out of the country for the entire period, and as such would not normally objectively tender a subscription. I do apologize to my readers for this. So having being in Monrovia, Liberia for the recently concluded ECOWAS Summit, I would like to do some analysis on such a historic august body and gathering of this sub-Saharan/West African region.
 
In resume, among other crucial achievements, ECOWAS, through its military apparatus, ECOMOG, played very sacrificial and invaluable roles in bringing peace, security and democratic governance to both Sierra Leone and Liberia during their past civil wars, and most recently ensuring that the Gambian people’s democratic change of government from the notorious dictatorial twenty seven years regime of Yaya Jarmeh, to the current government of President Adama Barrow, through their tactical robust intervention, overseen by President Helen JohnsonSirleaf of Liberia and other ECOWAS Presidents/actors, was enforced. Furthermore, ECOWAS has also spearheaded the enactment of several socio-political, advocacy and economic treaties in the sub region.
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View Point

WHY SIERRA LEONEANS HATE PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT

Honestly speaking Sierra Leoneans are well known for their hospitality all over the world, especially in Africa. But ironically many of them hate each other. But they love foreigners. They have high respect for strangers. But unfortunately they do not have respect among themselves. You can attest this to what is happening in the social media. Where they are showing their pull him down (PhD) syndrome. By castigating their compatriots unnecessarily. Some of them just because of jealousy and envious evil spirit they possess. They prefer to promote foreigners than their own brothers and sisters both in and out of the country.

Day in day out they are insulting each other.They are using all sorts of vulgar languages against each other. And even their own highly respected president in the world, President Ernest Bai Koroma they are insulting him openly. Therefore, it is an open secret that many Sierra Leoneans are not well cultured.

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“It is humbling to see again the power of this incredible global partnership to generate funding to fight one of the world’s most horrible and debilitating diseases,” said Dr Tedros.

 

 

A proportion of the money pledged will help WHO fund disease surveillance in more than 70 countries and enable it to provide expertise to help countries vaccinate 450 million children per year against polio. The Organization will also provide guidance on vaccination policy and participate in research into vaccine delivery methods, operational tactics and other approaches that can help accelerate eradication.

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The Bilateral Subcutaneous Mastectomy surgery was done on the 6th of June 2017 at the Holy Spirit hospital Makeni free of charge by a team of 5 surgeons from Ghana headed by Dr. Albert Painsil and assisted by our Sierra Leonean brother Dr. Abdul Jalloh with fund from Resurge Africa UK.

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Development

Sierra Leone Collateral Registry to improve access to finance for MSMEs

Minister of Finance and Economic Development and Governor of the Central Bank Monday (June 12) jointly launched the Sierra Leone Collateral Registry, an electronic public database holding information on security interests in movable property.

 

The Registry is an initiative of the Bank of Sierra Leone with technical and financial support provided by the World Bank Group to improve access to finance, particularly for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Established under Part II of the Borrowers and Lenders Act, the Registry is a web based system that allows lenders to search for any pre-existing security interests over movable assets provided as collateral. It facilitates the use of movable assets as collateral that may remain in possession or control of the borrowers and thereby improves access to secured finance.

 

 

 

Movable assets are the main type of collateral that MSMEs, especially those in developing countries, can encumber to obtain financing. Given opportunities in agribusiness among others, the Collateral Registry regime allows farmers and entrepreneurs to unlock significant sources of capital with assets that would otherwise not be looked at by lenders as potential collateral.

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Politics

APC Secretary General Ambassador Yansaneh announces the resolutions at the June 1st NAC Meeting
EBK endorsed to continue as Chairman and Leader,continue to unite and transition the party.
 
Selection or Endorsement of Presidential Candidate who will appoint a Running Mate to be endorsed by NAC.
 
National Executive Officers must have served at regional,district or constituency level to be qualified for selection or election.
 
Must n paid up and active in the last 10 years and paid up for 7 years . 
 
Will sign an undertaken to support whoever is selected or endorsed . 
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