Riding on the success of the inaugural Singapore Ballkids Programme in 2014, the Singapore Tennis Association (STA) will again be offering young tennis enthusiasts in Singapore, aged 11 to 18 years-old a coveted opportunity to be on the same court as the region’s and world’s leading tennis players, beginning with the 28th SEA Games in June 2015 and the second edition of BNP Paribas WTA Finals presented by SC Global in October 2015.
As part of the Singapore Ballkids Programme, youths will undergo several stages of training and selection and will develop their skills such as agility, hand-eye coordination and reaction time. They will also develop mental strength to handle high pressure environments, build discipline, and learn to work in teams.
Ballkids practicing hand-eye coordination and reaction time. (Photo by Leong Ah Chai)
“2015 is poised to be an exciting year for sport in Singapore beginning with the upcoming 28th SEA Games in June. As we aspire towards creating new value for tennis enthusiasts, this programme is therefore timely as it will provide opportunities for capability development amongst the youth, while at the same time, inspiring them to live their dreams,” said Mr Wilson Tay, Deputy General Manager of STA. “We also believe that these youths will go out there to become ambassadors for Singapore tennis, and inspire more youths to play and enjoy the sport.”
Two such youth tennis ambassadors from the 2014 cohort are Mohamed Faizan Nur Filza and Max Yeo who were involved in the 2014 edition of the WTA Finals and most recently at the Australian Open in January 2015.
Says 16-year-old Nur Filza, “I am honoured to be a part of the Singapore Ballkids Programme and to be given a chance to represent Singapore at the Australian Open 2015. I discovered to my surprise, that many of the Australian ballkids had a background in cricket and softball, and their ability to roll the balls quickly and accurately was amazing. I had to practice very hard to match their standard, and every moment that we spent on court is a chance for me to hone my skills.”
Ballkid Mohamed Faizan Nur Filza (in red) during a training session. (Photo by Leong Ah Chai)
Adds 15-year-old Max Yeo, “Contrary to what others think, being a ballkid is not simply about running around the court and retrieving tennis balls. My time at the Australian Open taught me more about the importance of focus determination, patience and discipline as a ballkid, which are key to doing the job well and to contribute to the flow of the game. I’m happy to be given the chance to represent Singapore at the Australian Open, and am looking forward to sharing my experience with the ballkids this year.”
“The Singapore Ballkids Programme provides opportunities for youths to develop their capabilities and interest for tennis. We are encouraged by the success of the programme last year and hope more would embrace this opportunity to pick up useful life skills through the programme.” said Mr Toh Boon Yi, Chief, Strategic Development and Marketing Group at Sport Singapore.
Interested youths can head down to the Open Recruitment Drive on Saturday, 21 March 2015 at the Yio Chu Kang Tennis Centre from 10am-2pm.
For more information on the Singapore Ballkids Programme 2015, please visit www.singtennis.org.sg