Junior tennis stars leaving in droves

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 November, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 November, 2001, 12:00am

I refer to the report headlined 'Top clubs faulted on services to tennis' (South China Morning Post, October 30), about private clubs operating under cheap government leases.

Comments I made as a member of the executive council of the Hong Kong Tennis Association, require clarification.

We should not confuse those clubs which do help out with the development of junior tennis, with those that do not. Among those clubs which operate under cheap government leases (and there are well over a dozen of them), the majority actively participate in allowing schools and other organisations to use their facilities at certain times. There are also a number of clubs which allow non-members to take part in their advanced junior development tennis programmes. There are also some that do not.

The important point, however, is that one of the major problems with the development of junior tennis in Hong Kong, is the lack of courts available for the tennis association's junior development programmes.

Because of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department's (LCSD) inflexible booking procedures, most advanced training must be undertaken at the Sports Institute in Sha Tin. Given the distances the juniors must travel several times a week to get there, the programme has already lost more than 10 juniors during the past month alone.

This is where the clubs can help out. If several more clubs were to offer the tennis association one or two courts, once or twice a week, from 4pm to 7pm, these extra courts could easily accommodate several of the SAR's leading training squads for centrally-based training.

Clubs offering courts to the tennis association could benefit from their generosity. To have some of Hong Kong's leading junior players training in their club once a week would be a great motivator for their own junior players.

The real battle would then be to try to get the LCSD to review its present booking policy.

If there are any more clubs which can help out with a little court time, they should contact the Hong Kong Tennis Association.


Happy Valley