Increase Text Size Decrease Text Size Default Text Size
 
OOPS. Your Flash player is missing or outdated.Click here to update your player so you can see this content.
Banner

Who's Online

We have 439 guests online
Featured Links:
Banner
ExpoNet
EXpoNet Services!
Banner
Subscribe Now
Subscribe Now.
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.

Read more...

Business News

Four illegal fishing cases found in Sierra Leone in four days

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, April 20, 2017/ -- Four illegal fishing cases have been found during a joint surveillance mission conducted by Greenpeace (www.Greenpeace.org/Africa/en) and Sierra Leone fishery authorities. Two Chinese vessels and one Korean vessel have been arrested for infringements of Sierra Leone fishing legislation, including possessing or using illegal fishing nets on board, no visible marking and a lack of required paperwork, including log books and authorisation for unloading catch. Fishing authorities ordered the vessels to return to Freetown port for further investigation. A fourth vessel, owned by an Italian company, was found with four kilograms of shark fins on board. Though not illegal under Sierra Leonean laws, this is a clear violation of European Union (EU) fishing rules. This boat’s case will be taken further with relevant EU authorities.

In addition, more than 70 bags of shark carcasses were found on one of the Chinese vessels.

Read more...

Media News

44 Journalists in Beijing for China Development Studies and Media Exchange

The 4th session of the China Africa Press Center (CAPC) Program hosted by the China Public Diplomacy Association (CPDA) was officially launched on Wednesday 1st March 2017 in Beijing, China. This year’s event is running simultaneously with the China South Asia Center 2017 program. Both programs brought together forty-four journalists from Africa and South Asia.

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.

Read more...

Commentary

A NEW DAWN FOR JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN SIERRA LEONE, PARLIAMENT APPROVES MELRON NICOL-WILSON AS NEW OMBUDSMAN

The Parliament of the Republic of Sierra Leone has overwhelmingly approved the appointment of Mr Melron Nicol-Wilson as new Ombudsman, on Tuesday April 11, 2017. This follows him being named by H.E President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma as the replacement to Justice Edmond Cowan - a long-standing legal icon, who now chairs the Sierra Leone Constitutional Review Committee.

A man whose action speaks louder than words, Mr Nicol-Wilson has been appointed as new Ombudsman for Sierra Leone, a position reserved for high-profile people, who are well-respected and with unblemished character. Mr Nicol-Wilson has the typical pedigree of an Ombudsman, best known both in Sierra Leone and internationally as a champion for justice and human rights.  

The Parliament’s decision to approve Mr Nicol-Wilson was anticipated, as the high-profile human rights lawyer emerged unscathed from an exchange of views with Members of Parliament.

Read more...

View Point

ELECTION IS A TESTIMONY TO PEOPLE’S SOVEREIGNTY

(The thoughts expressed in this article are purely and entirely the thoughts of the author)

Election in any democratic setting, include the enjoyment of those rights that will elicit the full participation of individuals in determining the political life of his/her country. An election is a decision making process through which eligible citizens(those who have reached the age of majority, 18 years and above and with sound mind) freely choose their leaders through the ballot box to hold public offices for a specified term.

Generally, people vote with the expectation that the office holders would represent their communitiesand or countries best interest.  Elections are viewed as a central feature of the rule of law, human rights, and democracy. Essentially, election is a testimony to peoples’ sovereignty and that ought to be respected and the process must be credible, otherwise there will be challenge with regards the acceptance of the result.

Read more...

News - Press Release

Police reject security for Alternative Peoples Independence Procession and Rally

April 24th 2017: On the occasion of the 56th anniversary of Sierra Leone’s independence, Movement for Social Progress (MSP) had requested the Sierra Leone Police to provide the necessary security for a peaceful Alternative Peoples Independence Procession and Rally that was planned to coincide with the official celebrations. The procession was planned to start from Clock Tower to Brima Atouga Stadium in the East end of the city while the official events are scheduled to take place in the West end of the city.

In a meeting with senior members of the Sierra Leone Police at the SLP headquarters, on Monday 24th April attended by the Inspector General, Francis Munu, the Head of Police Operations, Assistant Inspector General (AIG) Al-Sheikh Kamara, AIG Memuna Konteh Jalloh, AIG FUK Dabor, among others, the police top brass told members of MSP that they would not be able to provide security for the procession and rally.

The Inspector General of Police, Francis Munu, informed the meeting that they were overstretched with covering the official events, the traditional masquerade (or Odele) parade as well as the Lantern Parade on the eve of Independence.

Read more...

Society -Local News

AG to launch LAB in Waterloo

The Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles has told the people of Waterloo that the Attorney General and Minister of Justice (AG), Hon. Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara will serve as the keynote speaker at the launch of the Legal Aid Board in Waterloo in the Western Area Rural District on 6 May 2017.

Ms. Carlton-Hanciles pointed out thatHon. Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara has served as keynote speaker in all the launches the Board has had around the country. He noted that the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice is the supervisory ministry for the Legal Aid Board and further underlined the importance of having the holder of the office at such events in terms of availing himself with the challenges ordinary people face in accessing the justice system. More importantly, it provides an opportunity for these issues to be discussed by the cabinet.

Read more...

Development

LAB wants transports to allocate seats to the blind

The Executive Director of the Legal Aid Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles has disclosed plans to launch a White Cane Campaign in the coming weeks.

Ms. Carlton-Hanciles made the disclosure while addressing a cross section of the Waterloo Community including stakeholders at the District Council Hall on Monday, 24 April 2017 in a meeting to plan the launch of the Legal Aid Board in Waterloo in the WesternArea Rural District on 6 May 2017.

She noted that the campaign will seek to address the challenges faced by blind people in using public transport. ‘Blind people have been suffering in silence for far too long,’ she said. ‘They have been discriminated against because of their disability and this cannot be tolerated.’

Read more...

Politics

SAM SUMANA TRAVELS TO GHANA ON "EMERGENCY TRAVEL CERTIFICATE"
Former elected Vice President Samuel Sam Sumana left Freetown International Airport, Lungi late afternoon Wednesday April 19, 2017 onboard Kenya Airways on an "Emergency Travel Certificate",  en route to Abuja, Nigeria on or about April 23/24, 2017 for the hearing of his petition filed on October 24, 2016 in the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, "seeking an enforcement of his fundamental Human Rights arising from his unconstitutional removal from office, and for further orders contained in the application."
 
"This matter has been set down for hearing by the Court for April 26, 2017."
 
According to a spokesman for the Sam Sumana family Matthias Bendu who was with Sam Sumana at the airport until the aircraft was airborne because of advanced information reaching the family that there would be some problem awaiting Sam Sumana at the airport, Matthias Bendu told this Writer on the cellphone from the airport that Sam Sumana "was detained by Immigration Officers at the airport for more than thirty minutes  after the aircraft  landed, and it was due to the intervention of the Inspector General of Police Francis Munu who told the immigration Officers that Sam Sumana had not committed any crime and must be allowed to travel".
Read more...
Copyright © 2017 expotimesonline. All rights reserved.