Wednesday, January 4, 2012 – Doha, Qatar –
For the first time in Qatar ExxonMobil Open history, the tournament held a preschool promotional festival during the tournament for boys and girls from 11 area preschools, aged 4 and 5 years old. 600 children took part in a 2-hours session from 9-11am this morning that included multiple activities – fun in the Kid’s Zone, face painting, drawing, entertainment by clowns, and plenty of tennis and fitness instruction. Healthy meals were provided and each child was given a gift at the end of the session. With 95% of the children being Qatari, it was a huge success in exposing local youth to the game. 25 coaches and volunteers took part to make it a memorable day for all the kids.
Khaled Al Khelaifi, Qatar Tennis Federation Board Member and the Head of National Teams, is the force behind the initiatives to grow the game of tennis in Qatar, “We hold promotional festivals throughout the year in Doha and the Qatar ExxonMobil Open 2012 gives us the perfect opportunity to expose youngsters to all that tennis has to offer. They can experience the fun of the game, see current stars in action and be inspired to pursue their own tennis goals.” Six to seven of these promotional events are held throughout the year as part of the Tennis 10s initiative – 10-and-under tennis headed by Captain Wahid to introduce children under 10 years of age to the game.
This is all in line with the strategy of the National Team to grow and promote the game of tennis in Qatar and identify Qatari talent to take to the next level of tennis. There is a protocol agreement with local schools where National Team coaches go to these schools once a week to teach tennis. These schools are chosen by their geographic location to clubs that will reintroduce tennis in September 2012. Tennis has not been in the clubs since 1992 but later this year, tennis will make a big comeback and children at the local schools will have a familiarity and awareness of the sport thanks to the exposure they have received through the initiatives of the Qatar Tennis Federation. High caliber tennis players are brought up in the club system internationally and with tennis coming back to the clubs later this year, the strategy is to due the same in Doha.
Khaled Al Khelaifi thanked the media for their continued support in brining attention to the efforts and initiatives of the National Team as they create programs for the future stars of Qatar tennis. Another promotional festival will be held tomorrow for 12 elementary schools. Over 700 children aged six and seven years old are expected attend.
About Qatar Tennis Federation The overall mission of the Qatar Tennis Federation (QTF) is to provide young Qatari tennis players with the best resources and opportunities available to reach their maximum potential and compete in renowned tennis tournaments locally, regionally and internationally. In addition the Qatar Tennis Federation is fully committed to elevate the level of tennis in the country and to turn tennis into the preferred sport among the community of Qatar.