Four years ago, the Trivandrum Tennis Club launched a programme to reach out the game to economically weaker sections of society.
Christened the Community Tennis Programme (CTP) it was actually an extension of the great vision envisaged by Col. G. V .Raja the founder of the Club.
Col. G. V. Raja brought in coaches from all over the country and trained ball boys who later went on to play the game with distinction. Over the years, tennis became an expensive sport to pursue and the club remained out of bounds for the common man.
But the CTP changed the image of the club which sponsored 50 children between the ages of six and 12 to learn tennis during weekends. The club provided free kits and coaching was given by coaches attached to the TTC.
The trainees were also given breakfast on the days of coaching.
The children were chosen from schools adjoining the club.
From the initial batch of 50 students, 20 graduated to the regular coaching scheme run by the TTC. D.Panchami and Nimisha M.Nair - the trainees of CTP – went on to represent the State in the National School Games and many others won medals in the State-level tournaments hosted by the TTC. The success of this scheme was what prompted the TTC to launch the second phase of the programme.
This year 55 children have been inducted into this scheme.
Twenty five children will be from the Government LP School, Peyad, where TTC runs its mini-tennis programme – tennis 10s – and rest will be from the Government LP school, Peroorkada.
“The club will be spending more than Rs. 3 lakh for the kits alone. This year we will be giving graphite rackets to the trainees.
The members have been very supportive,” says M. R. Ramesh, the chief coordinator and in-charge of tennis activities of the club.
The second phase was inaugurated by K. Muraleedharan, MLA, on Monday.