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.
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 PDF Print E-mail
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

ACC URGES EDSA BO TO TACKLE BRIBERY AND PETTY CORRUPTION

“Electricity is an essential commodity. Operations of Government offices and private enterprises hinge on the availability of electricity. And in the homes, every single Sierra Leonean will like to enjoy electricity service; therefore, we cannot afford to tolerate petty corruption and bribery in the energy sector,” ACC Southern Regional Manager told staff of Electricity Distribution and Supply Authority (EDSA) at a general meeting at EDSA conference room.

Samuel Marah said EDSA staff have to brace up for the job and conduct themselves in line with best practice. He said meters, poles and cables, ladders, pliers, and computers do not involve in malpractices by themselves, but it is the individuals who use them as they interact with the gullible public. The public most times is unable to identify EDSA staff from non EDSA staff.

He said EDSA in Bo must implement measures already designed to tackle petty corruption and bribery happening in the sector. May 2017 PNB complaints report indicated bribes paid for meter replacement, new connection, reconnection, bill reduction and avoiding disconnection. These hotspots continue to feature repeatedly in the report and it is about time actions are taken. Erection of service charter indicating costs for services can be a huge measure to curbing petty corruption.

Read more...

Media News

Freedom of Expression Violations Rise Sharply in West Africa

The incidents of freedom of expression rights violations in West Africa more than tripled in the first quarter (January-March) of 2017.

Over the three-month period, a total of 47 violations were recorded as against 14 violations for the last quarter (October-December) of 2016. The violations recorded in the quarter under review range from arrests and detentions to physical attacks, online violations, shutdown of media houses, censorship, seizure and destruction of property and killings. The 47 violations occurred in 10 out of the 16 countries in West Africa.

These findings are contained in the latest edition of the West Africa Freedom of Expression Monitor, a quarterly report by the MFWA which analyses and highlights freedom of expression developments in the sub-region.

Read more...

Commentary

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.
Read more...

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.

Read more...

News - Press Release

President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Maria E. Brewer as U.S. Ambassador to Sierra Leone

Maria E. Brewer of Indiana has been nominated to be Ambassador of the United States of America to the Republic of Sierra Leone.   U.S. Ambassador John Hoover departs Sierra Leone in early July 2017.  Ms. Brewer will take up her new position pending confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

Ms. Brewer, a career member of the U.S. Senior Foreign Service and class of Minister-Counselor, has served as an American diplomat since 1996.  She is currently the Deputy Director of the Career Development and Assignments Division of the Bureau of Human Resources at the Department of State. 

Ms. Brewer served as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria from 2013 to 2016.  Previously she served as Deputy Executive Director of the Bureau of African Affairs, Management Officer in Islamabad, Pakistan, and Management Officer in Colombo, Sri Lanka. 

Read more...

Society -Local News

PORT LOKO UNIVERSITY COLLEGE JOINS THE ANTI-GRAFT CRUSADE

Staff and students of the Port Loko University College, a constituent college of the Ernest Bai Koroma University of Science and Technology, pledged to support the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in fighting graft in the country. This commitment was made during a special talk delivered by the ACC Regional Manager North, Abu Bakarr Kamara on Wednesday, 21st June, 2017.

Delivering his address to a jam-packed audience in the college's auditorium, Mr. Kamara explained to staff and students the various approaches ACC employs in combating graft in the country. He went on to explain the key features of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2008, as amended, cataloguing the various corruption offences contained therein.

The Regional Manager reminded students that as teachers in training they should imbibe good moral values; among which are high levels of integrity and commitment in their career as teachers, describing them as agents of change in the country's socio-economic development. "Corruption in the education system is one of the most potent form of corruption that leaves an indelible negative imprint on the psyche of the pupils you are going to teach", the Regional Manager noted.

Read more...

Development

ACC PARNERS WITH CSOs IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION IN BO

Media Foundation for Development Sierra Leone has joined the fight against corruption in Bo, Southern Sierra Leone. It comes following days of heightened Pay No Bribe (PNB) public campaigns organized by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

ACC Manager South, Samuel Marah, said the Commission looks forward to receiving more civil society organizations with shared interest in addressing corruption which affects the lives of bulk of Sierra Leoneans. He said the task is huge and requires support from CSOs who directly work in the interest of the public.

The 2014-18 National Anti-Corruption Strategy stresses the importance of partnership and collaboration in tackling graft. Since CSOs are central to the governance of the state in initiating and designing development programmes that address poverty and under-development, partnership with them places the Commission at a vantage position in tackling mis-procurement, misappropriation of public funds, and bribery.

Read more...

Politics

Vice President Foh launches One Health Platform

Vice President, Dr. Victor Bockarie Foh has officially launched the One Health Platform, an innovative, proactive to prevent, detect and respond to future disease outbreak in Sierra Leone past Friday June 23, 2017 at the Miatta Conference Centre, Brookfields in Freetown.

Delivering his keynote address, Vice President Dr. Victor Foh described the ceremony as an history making event of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, recalling the launch of the maternal and child health week in June this year.

He said by the launch of the One Health Platform, Sierra Leone is taking another giant step towards achieving its health care delivery system, pointing out that by this step, they would be able to identify, diagnose and prevent, and cure diseases that are transmitted from animals to human beings.

Read more...
Copyright © 2017 expotimesonline. All rights reserved.