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

Why Parastatals should be Socially Responsible: the Case of NRA

In Sierra Leone, the notion of corporate social responsibility has always been associated with the private sector. No wonder some people see the active involvement of the National Revenue Authority (NRA) in corporate social activities as strange, and many have opined that a tax collecting body should not be engaged in corporate social responsibility activities.

However, the impact of corporate social responsibility (CSR) on corporate image is immense, even for tax collecting bodies. The perception that tax collectors are monsters vigorously bent on collecting people's earnings with no care for the environment or the vulnerable in the community they operate is evolving. Indeed, many revenue authorities in Africa are today socially responsible.

The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) in an article in its website argues that "the nature of Revenue Collectors' mandate makes them the hill of the nation such that whatever they do is mirrored and echoed by many".

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

Dr. David Tam-Baryoh: A New Broom in Sierra Leone Politics

Dr. David Tam-Baryoh is a household name in Sierra Leone, mostly because of his“Good Governance” popular radio programme called monologue. In fact the programme has become sopopular that most people prefer to call the presenter “Mr. Monologue”. Recently Mr. Monologue said in two or three of his programmes that he would be going intopolitics. It looked like a joke the first time he said it. But after saying it over threeor four times it is no longer a joke.

So Dr. David Tam-Baryoh is going into politics in 2018. Those who are very closeto him will tell you that this is a fact. The Doctor has made up his mind. Afterdiscussing and editing serious national issues on newspaper pages and on the airwaves for almost twenty five years, hehas decided that he cannot achieve much for the people behind the microphone and the pen. He now wants toengage into something that will make a direct impact on the lives of Sierra Leoneans.

And the Doctor thinks politics is the best way to do this, if we look at politics as“the authoritative allocation of scarce resources within a nation state.” He wants tobe part of the allocation of Sierra Leone’s scarce resources.

Read more...

View Point

Precious Minerals, Public Trust and Government’s Openness

By late 2001, the Anti Corruption Commission arrested then Sierra Leone's  transport and communications minister, together with his wife, “for involvement in illegal diamond mining” in Kenema district.  Large quantum of illicit diamonds had been found in their possession, according to a BBC report at the time.

With some diamonds said to have been smuggled out of the country by the minister, the incident happened at a time when the rebel war was raging and the key perpetrators- the RUF were also seriously involved in illicit mining and smuggling. The minister was later jailed in 2003 for two years for illegal possession of diamonds.

Amongst other factors, Sierra Leone’s civil war was fuelled mainly by diamond, specifically “conflict diamonds”- those diamonds that originated from territories controlled by rebel forces (UN definition).

Read more...

News - Press Release

LAB resolves dispute over property in Kissy

The Legal Aid Board’s Alternative Dispute Resolution on Tuesday, 7 March 2017 resolved a long standing dispute in respect of a property on Newcastle Street, in Kissy, Freetown between one Mr. Solomon Samba Mansaray and his seventy-seven year old elder sister Madam Marian Kamara who is in the country on holiday from the United States of America.

The two who had not been on speaking terms were reconciled. Both promised to work together in the interest of peace in the family. In this vein, Madam Marian Kamara agreed to cancel a U$ 400 debt owed by Mr. Mansaray. 

While the tension between the two had been lingering several years,Mr. Mansaray decided to report the matter to the Board in Freetown when he got information that Madam Marian Kamara was planning to sell theproperty.   The owner of the property who is the sister of both parties had died over a decade ago without leaving a will.

Read more...

Society -Local News

Njala demonstration stretches LAB to the limit

The Legal Aid Board office in Freetown was stretched to the limit following the storming of the office by desperate students ofthe Njala University seeking the intervention of the Board to secure the release of their colleagues who had been arrested and held in police cells around the city.

On a normal weekday, you would expect at least forty people crammed in the Freetown office to seek the services of the Board. The situation on Thursday, March 23 was characterized by mild chaos as too many students wanted to visit the office to provide updates on students arrested by the police.

The team of Legal Aid Board staff comprising Bankole Morgan and Anthony Karim Kamara negotiated the release of five of the six students detained at the Central Police Station. One was not released because of an alleged inflammatory statement to bring the city on its knees.

Read more...

Development

U.S. Africa Command Launches a 33-Nation Maritime Exercise: Sierra Leone Maritime “Full Speed Ahead”

During March 23-31, the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) issponsoring “Obangame Express”, an in-port Command Post exerciseand at-sea maritime exercise designed to enhance maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea.The exercise includes 33 partner nations, as well as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). 

The exercise is designed to improve cooperation andinformation sharing, and to refine tactics, techniques and procedures among participating nations.

The “Obangame Express”exercise will be based on realistic modern-day scenarios such as piracy, illegal fishing and hijacking.  During the exercise,Maritime Operations Centers (MOCs) will be challenged to recognize illicit acts and share trackinginformation with other MOCs throughout the region.

Read more...

Politics

Ansumana Usman Koroma Urges Sierra Leoneans To Support the Registration Process

The winner of the Pride of Australia Award, Ansumana Usman Koroma popularly known as AUK has called on all Sierra Leoneans within and outside Sierra Leone to support and fully participate in both the ongoing voter registration that has started March 20 to end April 19 2017 and the forthcoming nationwide civil registration process slated April 24 to June 11 2017.

AUK who is a Political and Policy Analyst working in Australia said the mass registration of every citizen is a very important process in the development agenda of the country. He therefore appealed to all Sierra Leoneans to put politics aside and understand that the process would help government consolidate citizens’ data and enhance effective service delivery and improve monitoring of government programmes and policies.

He stressed that the national civil registration authority is created to promote a greater sense of nationalism and common identity.

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