With no International Tennis involvement of any sort from Sierra Leone for a period of four years plus, the official Lawn Tennis Association of the country, with Mr. Kelvin Kellie as President have again reawakened this very much dismal participation by sending in a Sierra Leone tennis team of seven to actively participate in the week long 2011 International Tennis Federation (ITF)/Confederation of African Tennis (CAT), West & Central African Junior Championships in Winneba, Ghana.
According to Kelvin Kellie, the Sierra Leone Tennis Association over the years has suffered greatly, a situation he said saw the sport attract just few players. He added that lack of facilities also caused the sport to go down the drains. “Lack of a standard court and facilities has stifled our activities. This is a challenge we must face. We are going to stand shoulder-to-shoulder to put tennis in its rightful place once again,” he vowed.
This is of course deprived junior and senior tennis players of much needed international exposure which if gained would have attracted funding and international experience. Above all, the players would have gained points in the ITF (International Tennis Federation) point system, which could have helped them qualify to participate in many international competitions. This same long term absence deprived our tennis players of points that disqualified them from taking part in the just concluded Commonwealth Games that took place in New Delhi, India. With barely a year in office, the newly elected Sierra Leone Lawn Tennis Association Executive composing of the President – Kelvin Kellie, Vice President Major-General Robert Y. Koroma, Yayah Koroma – Secretary General, the National Coach Amidu Dumbuya and other executive members have worked assiduously to bring Sierra Leone to the ‘lime light’ in terms of this sport. This team has succeeded in forging good relationships with ITF and CAT and currently, Sierra Leone has been counted among the countries that have fully completed their five-year development plan.
Just like soccer or volleyball, our attentions need to turn to the development of lawn tennis in Sierra Leone. Two main areas to focus are the need to improve poor lawn tennis facilities and also to sustainably fund Sierra Leone’s participation in international competitions. We have talents waiting to be harnessed and until our facilities and regular appearances to International Tournaments are ensured, these talents would not be adequately identified and harnessed.