Tennis sheds its elitist image

Tennis, like cricket and rugby, is no longer a sport enjoyed by white youngsters only.

06 August 2020 | Sports

Jesse Jackson Kauraisa

WINDHOEK



The game of tennis in Namibia has gradually moved from an era where it was regarded as a 'white sport' into a more multiracial sport.

All this has been because of tennis development programmes that have been reaching out to all communities around the country.

Tennis development coordinator and coach Wellington Sibanda believes that the classification of tennis as an elite sport is slowly disappearing.



50/50 representation

“It is true that tennis was perceived to be a sport for whites and the elites of this country. “It is a culture that many African countries developed and this led to a lack of interest and motivation from the black community.

“I am proud to say that things have gradually changed and we are seeing a huge increase in the number of black players emerging,” Sibanda said.



School leagues plays part

Many local schools mainly attended by black children used to consider football and athletics as their go-to sports. Rugby, cricket and tennis rarely attracted any interest in these communities before the introduction of development programmes.

“This tells you that awareness was the only thing missing because now all black children are aware that they can actually become top tennis, rugby, and even cricket stars.

“The secret here has been about introducing development programmes at grassroots level.

“I am happy today that tennis has a 50/50 racial representation which is a good thing for Namibia,” Sibanda said.



Encourage youth

Sibanda further encourages young people of any ethnicity to try out any sport.

“You can be black or white but I can assure you that you will be able to compete in any sport if you set your mind to it. “The world has transformed and sport has become a universal language that unites us all.”

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