The recently concluded ITF women’s tournament in Bidar proved anything is possible with the right attitude
It takes vision and guts to conduct an international tennis tournament in a remote corner of Karnataka. The Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association in association with Zygosports managed that feat last week, when they hosted the first $ 10,000 ITF women’s Futures championship in Bidar, where tennis as a sport is a novelty. The court complex at the Police Training School and Police Officers Guest house provided a spectacular setting. The two main courts and two on the adjoining area are built on a low trough of land, with rolling hills and green cover in the distance It was an unlikely venue for an ITF Tournament.
“We never knew in the first place that such courts existed in Bidar’, quipped an awestruck local scribe . The architect of the superb facility, the Superintendent of Police, Satish Kumar, a club level player says, “We took up tennis on the advice of the I.G. Gagandeep two years ago. We decided to build a court here and improve our tennis This is our gift to people of Bidar ”
Satish feels that Bidar championship has raised considerable interest in the game . “We want to form a trust with eminent people in town and our department to manage the courts and ensure there is regular activity. We also plan to train 50 to 60 children with our police coaches and we would also like to enlist support from KSLTA for this endeavour,” he contends.
KSLTA Secretary, C.S. Sunder Raju is happy with the facilities at Bidar. He said, “We would love to bring more tournaments here.”
The appointment of P.C. Jaffer as the new district commissioner of Bidar will also help in this endeavour. He was instrumental in conducting ITF events in Gulbarga and Mandya respectively. He says, “It is sheer coincidence that we are conducting the ITF tournament when I assumed charge here. I would like to see more sports besides tennis get visibility in Bidar.” .
For over a dozen foreign players, who chose to play at the Bidar Open, it was a new experience. “It was quite different from other places that we had played. It is nice to have a tournament in a small town. We enjoyed our stay,” says Wing Yau Venise Chan of Hong Kong, who emerged as the champion.
Ankita Raina and National junior champion, Prarthana Thombare, made the semi-finals at Bidar, an encouraging development for women’s tennis in India.
Bidar has been known for a long time for its artefacts, but now is set to become a major tennis destination as well, with the title sponsor Ashok Kheny (who is also from Bidar) promising to back the championship at Bidar for the next five years.