Coetzer to Host Junior Event in South Africa
Published May 13, 2008 12:00
BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa - Former South African tennis star Amanda Coetzer and her alma mater, Oranje Meisieskool (OMS), will host the 11th Amanda Coetzer Challenge in Bloemfontein this weekend. The Challenge forms part of the Amanda Coetzer "Learn Tennis, Love Tennis Foundation", which was set up by the now-retired former world No.3 to develop junior girls' tennis in South Africa.
Coetzer also announced she had joined forces with banking giant ABSA and leading office automation company Konica Minolta Business Solutions to sponsor the Challenge - the country's leading girls' tennis event. The Challenge, comprising of a high school and primary school event, sees school girls from around the country hoping to emulate the exploits of one of South Africa's most successful tennis players and converging on the OMS courts in the Free State capital from Thursday, May 15 to Saturday, May 17.
Speaking from Los Angeles, Coetzer said she was thrilled to be a part of the annual event that her old school hosts: "I am passionate about South Africa, and even though as a professional most of my days were spent out of the country, my deepest desire is to see the successful development of tennis amongst South Africans, especially school girls. Tennis is generally seen as an individual sport, but this event adds team spirit, which builds up lasting friendships - important for any individual who hopes to get the most of the game."
In 2002, as a demonstration of her firm commitment to tennis development in South Africa, Coetzer expanded the Challenge to host a primary schools' tournament played on the same basis as the high school. The primary school event will be played from Thursday, May 22 to Saturday, May 24.
"Junior tennis players begin playing at the under 12 level, so I felt it was important to expand the Challenge and include this primary schools initiative. This will assist the budding stars of tomorrow by giving them the rare opportunity of playing competitively in a team format," Coetzer added.
Defending champions Hoër Meisieskool Bloemhof from Stellenbosch head the entry of the country's six top high schools invited to the event. The other schools making up the High School Challenge line up are three-time winners Hoërskool Waterkloof from Pretoria; Hoërskool Cradock; Hoërskool Stellenbosch; Pretoria-based Hoërskool Menlo Park and hosts Hoër Meisieskool Oranje.
The Primary School teams participating will be Laerskool Hudson Park (East London), Laerskool Eikestad (Stellenbosch), Laerskool St Mary's (Durban), Laerskool Menlo Park (Pretoria), Laerskool Gimnasium (Paarl) and hosts Primere Meisieskool Oranje.
Banie Claasen, Regional Manager for Absa Medium Business Free State & Northern Cape, said: "ABSA is proud to be associated with one of South Africa's most established tennis events hosted by one of South Africa's most reputed educational institutions, Oranje Meisieskool. ABSA believes in the youth and sees the development of the youth as a priority."
"Konica Minolta strongly believes that the youth are the future of our country and will play an important role in the growth and success of sport in South Africa and the country as a whole," said Konica Minolta Managing Director Ryno Opperman. "Amanda Coetzer is one of the best ambassadors our country has produced and to join forces with Amanda to make this project possible is indeed a pleasure for Konica Minolta."
Co-sponsors for the event are official suppliers to Amanda Coetzer, Wilson and Powerade.