Will playing tennis inspire one to lead a better life? Yes, as SportCares and the WTA will have you know. The SportCares “Love Singapore” Tennis Clinic, WTA’s adopted social cause, saw international tennis stars inspire and motivate underprivileged girls to live better lives through sports.
(Photo by Xing Yuxing/SportCares)
When WTA Finals fever hit Singapore, the girls from SportCares were among the first children to share the court with the international tennis stars descending on the nation.
Over 40 girls, including 25 children and youth from the SportCares’ Love Singapore Tennis Programme, were treated to an exclusive clinic conducted by WTA Finals competitors, singles star Simona Halep and doubles team Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears.
Minister for Culture, Community, and Youth Lawrence Wong and US Ambassador to Singapore Kirk Wagar graced the event, which saw the girls from the SportCares “Love Singapore” Tennis Programme learning more about the sport and interacting with the professionals at Singapore Sports Hub’s OCBC Arena.
Addressing the participants, Wagar remarked that it was a platform for the girls to be inspired by the hard work and achievements of the successful women in the WTA, and “to make lifelong friends”. The clinic was funded by a grant from the US Embassy.
from left: Kirk Wager (US Ambassador to Singapore), Shelby Rogers (WTA Rising Stars Competitor), Eugenie Bouchard (WTA Finals competitor), Lawrence Wong (Singapore's Minister for Community, Culture and Youth) and Simona Halep (WTA Finals competitor) at the press conference. (Photo by Xing Yuxing/SportCares)
Nurul Lisa Mohd Bin Syahrin, 13, one of the event’s beneficiaries, shared her eagerness to meet the stars and learn from them, “It’s a great experience and such an honour to participate in this event!”
Sport Singapore CEO Lim Teck Yin also commented on the day’s significance, which provided exposure to children who would have otherwise not been able to have access to such major sporting events.
“I think today’s programme is not about tennis. Today’s programme is about being inspired to want to live better and to work hard towards a better future. The girls have the chance to be on this court, to see what it’s like and to see what the other girls have achieved.”
WTA Finals competitor Simona Halep guiding SportCares participants during the tennis clinic. (Photo by Helen Lee/SportCares)
Miruna Ranjan, who leads Community Outreach and the Love Singapore programme for SportCares, added that “It is heart-warming to see such different facets of our community coming together for the sake of the kids in our programme. So many partners have marshalled their significant resources to make this clinic happen for the children. Speaking as Team SportCares, we are overwhelmed and grateful.”
Also in attendance at the event were WTA “Rising Stars” player Shelby Rogers, WTA “Future Stars” competitors from 12 different countries in the region, national tennis player Sarah Pang, as well as tennis players from CHIJ Primary (Toa Payoh), Nanyang Junior College, and ITE College Central.
The girls got to pose for photos with the star players, before moving to the courts for some tennis fun. Wong even got to cross swords, or rather, in this case, racquets, with Halep and some of the WTA “Future Stars”.
“They’re all very good, so much potential, so much passion for the game! So, I think it’s very exciting for the future of tennis, for both in Singapore and in the region,” he said.
Tournament Director of the Singapore WTA Finals Melissa Pine observed, “It’s not just about hitting tennis balls. It’s about how WTA is leaving a legacy here in Singapore. We are striving towards a common goal to live better through sports, and to lead a healthier life through playing tennis.”
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