A group of 12 kids between the ages of 5 and 12, participated in the debut lawn tennis tournament over the weekend organized by Coach Alfred Kandakai.
Coach Kandakai explained the two-day tournament, sponsored by the acting president of the Liberian Tennis Federation, Houssen Cheaitou, was aimed at introducing the kids to tennis.
On Saturday, the SKD tennis court came alive with the opener between 12 year-old Beatrice Kragbe and 10-year-old Paullena Garyezon.
Beatrice convincingly shattered experienced Paullena 6-0 in the first game; unfortunately, in the second game, her sister, 8-year-old Pauline Garyezon fell to 10-year-old Georgina Tamba 6-3.
On Sunday, Beatrice thrashed Georgina, 6-0 getting her revenge; Paullena defeated Georgina 6-4, to avenge her sister’s defeat after she crashed out of the tournament.
“That was my first tournament, it was hard for me but I made it, — and thanks to Coach Kandakai,” Beatrice said with a laugh. She received two-dozen of the large 100-sheet composition copy books, as the champion.
After she received a dozen medium-size 100-sheet composition copybooks, runner-up Paullena stated furiously, “The results of the next tournament will not be like this, I blame myself for not focusing — I messed up.”
Paullena was among the first group of kids that began the free tennis lessons under Coach Kandakai in September, and Beatrice joined them in early December after graduating from the elementary lessons at Noah Ark’s, where Coach Kandakai also give free tennis lessons to interested students.
“I am happy to have participated in this tournament, it was not easy – and I hope to double up next time by learning and training harder,” second runner-up Georgina, said after she received a dozen medium size 100-sheet copybooks.
Beatrice, Georgina and Paullena said that they wished to be like US professional tennis player Serena Williams, the world’s number one and 17-time grand slam champion.
They said that they could be like or more like Ms. Williams who was also motivated to play tennis from her elder sister Venus, former tennis world number one player, and seven-time grand slam champion.
Moses Guddah, an adult trainee, and his daughter Leona Favor Gblah, who were both at the mini awards program, hailed Coach Kandakai for his dedication to giving children a professional sporting experience.
Guddah called on tennis lovers and the government to support Coach Kandakai’s drive to develop the physical abilities of young tennis players.
Since September 2013, Coach Alfred Kandakai, ITF Level 2 coach, began offering ‘free tennis lessons’ to kids at the SKD, every Saturday, from 8am to 2pm.