Friday, August 19, 2016

2016 EA Safari Junior Tennis Camp: Paticipant Experience

The EA Safari Junior Tennis Camp at Sadili Oval Sports Academy is much more than just a sports camp; it’s also a friendship-forming and character-building experience that leaves participants wishing for more at the end of it. The 2016 edition came to a close on Wednesday 18th August. Here’s what some of the participants had to say about their experiences.

Nina Saitoti, Age: 16, Nairobi – More than just great training
Nina started playing tennis at the age of 13, but until the Smashers Challenge on 14th August 2016, she had never participated in any tournament. This was her first time at the Safari Junior Tennis camp. This is what she had to say: 

“I came to know of the tennis camp through Sadili’s website of which I’m a regular visitor. The moment I knew it would be happening, I did not hesitate to sign up because I have always wanted to improve my skills in tennis. Before I came, all I pictured was some good tennis training, but I got more than just that.  Everyone I met was warm and very friendly: the campers and staff alike. I also can’t believe how much my skills have improved in such a short time. I used to train in school, but it was not as good as what I got here. Dr. Liz made me realize just how much I didn’t know about tennis. There are so many things I heard from her that I have never heard from any of my coaches before. I hope to get more training here [at Sadili] even after the camp; this is something I will have to discuss with my parents.”

Shana Mao, Age: 11, Arusha – Great experience
Shana has been playing tennis since 2014 and is the current number one tennis player in the Under 12 category in Tanzania.  Just like Nina, this was her first time at the Camp. This is what she had to say:

“The experience at Safari Junior Tennis Camp is one that I will never forget, despite the fact that I was only there for a week. I was the only Tanzanian, but I still had a sense of belonging. The staff members at Sadili are super… I actually thought of all of them as friends. I cannot thank them enough for all the kindness they provided for the campers. I get tennis training in Tanzania but I have never met anyone like Dr. Liz. She has a very keen eye and is quick to point out the little mistakes we make when playing. She always had something new to teach us every day, and I think that’s what makes her unique. I hope to come again next year and experience it all over again.”

John Onyango, Age: 17, Kisumu – Going back home a better player
John has been playing tennis since he was 11 years old. At the age of 12, he participated in the East Africa Safari Junior Tennis Camp for the first time and played for the first time in a tournament: the EA Junior Open, in the U14 category. He was the first runner’s up in the tournament. He also participated in the Kisumu Open series in the same year and won.  He came to this year’s camp on scholarship. This is what he had to say about this years’ camp:

“Since the first time I attended a camp here at Sadili, I have always wanted to be back. When I got information on Facebook that Sadili would be offering scholarships for this year’s edition, I did not hesitate to apply, and I was very excited when I got it. This year’s edition was particularly special because there were separate life skills sessions for campers, something that wasn’t there the last time I came. I get training back at home [in Kisumu], but it’s a lot different from what I got here at Sadili. The training at home is very basic, as we are not taught anything more than how to hit balls back and forth. The camp may not have lasted that long, but I’m happy that I have learnt a great deal from Dr. Liz, Coach Kats and the rest of the players at the camp, and I will be going back home a much better player.”

Wycliffe Okenye, 17, Nairobi – Keeps coming
Wycliffe won this year's Smashers Challenge Cup U18/21 category. He’s been playing tennis since he was 11 and played his first tournament at the age of 12. Here’s his story:

“I have been attending Safari Junior Tennis Camps since I was 12. I consider Sadili my second home because this is where I discovered I could actually play tennis. Tennis camps at Sadili have always been fun and action-packed and this year’s edition was no different. I was more than thrilled when I got a scholarship to come for it because I knew the kind of training I would get. I’m very grateful to Dr. Liz and Coach Kats for the wonderful training they gave us during the camp and I’m looking forward to coming again next year.”

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