THE Bulawayo Metropolitan Province Tennis Board (BMPTB) has begun preparations for the junior International Tennis Federation Under-18 tournament to be held in the city in March next year.
The tournament, organised by International Tennis Federation (ITF) is an international world rankings tourney which enables players to compete for points which gives them an opportunity to rise through the world rankings.
Both women and men will compete at the prestigious junior competitions and more than 100 players from across the world are expected to partake at the international event. BMPTB chairman Raggs Chikunichawa said this is the first time for Bulawayo to host such an event.
“Bulawayo has had the privilege to host the Under-18 ITF tournament for the first time next year in March and even though we have hosted similar events only for the Under 14 ITF series, this will be the first time hosting an event of such magnitude,” said Chikunichawa.
Chikunichawa revealed that tournaments as the ITF competitions are highly positive and central in the development of the sport in the province.
“The tournaments as the ITF competitions for juniors are brilliant and fundamental in the development of tennis in the Matabeleland region,’’ he said.
Chikunichawa said they have begun raising funds to build new tennis courts and revamp the existing ones in preparation for the event.
“We have been trying to raise funds to build new tennis courts and refurbish the old ones in order to able to host the ITF event.
“Currently we have five courts which are functional and the ITF standards require a minimum of seven tennis courts which are in line with the international standards,’’ Chikunichawa said.
He revealed that the amount needed for the project is $100 000 and the BMPTB is seeking corporate support for the re-establishment and building of the facilities.