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Tennis carnival draws hundreds

Thursday 26 January 2012 | Published in Regional


There was barely room to stand at the National Tennis Centre in Nikao yesterday when hundreds of Rarotongas children gathered for the Coca Cola tennis carnival.

Giving children something fun to do and to fall in love with the game of tennis was the whole aim of the free one-day carnival sponsored by CITC and Coca Cola.

For older kids already introduced to tennis the day presented the perfect opportunity for them to show off their skills to parents and of course make new friends on the court.

Kids aged over seven played mini tennis games on two courts while the babes aged seven and under had a ball playing fun tennis inspired games.

Once the kids, some as young as three, demonstrated they could properly hold their racquets and mini tennis bats after a couple of fun drills it was on to the mini courts for the tennis development game known as prisoner.

On four mini sized courts the little stars smiled and skipped their way through the prisoner game which involves kids hitting the ball into the court and if they missed the ball or hit it outside of the playing area they would have to sit to the side or go to prison.

As sitting on the side or in prison wasnt much fun the children quickly learned to hit the ball within the court boundary and within no time at all the kids were consistently hitting the ball over the net.

Coach Malcolm Kajer was thrilled to see the large number of children at the courts. The federation hopes they enjoyed themselves so much that their parents would sign them on for regular tennis lessons and one day fly the Cook Islands flag at regional or international tournaments.

With so many kids running around in the heat of the day lots of cold water was supplied to go with the sausage sizzle and keep the little athletes hydrated and fuelled for the full-on fun day.

Of course ice creams were the food of choice for all the budding tennis stars.

CITC key brands manager George George was overwhelmed with the response to the programme and wished that other codes were as proactive as tennis in taking up golden opportunities like Wednesdays free tennis carnival to develop their own codes.

Tennis lessons are given daily at the Nikao Tennis Centre and once school starts up again the after-school tennis programmes will begin again and so will the ANZ tennis in school programme.