From this year, the Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA) will re-brand its long-term vision to nurture young talent with the Junior Tennis Initiative (JTI) programme, and have Perera and Sons (P&S) as its title sponsors. The JTI programme will be under two key sections- Mini Tennis, also known as the Tennis 10s, and Performance Tennis. The JTI programme will be conducted by SLTA-appointed regional coordinators and closely monitored by an SLTA National Coordinator providing leadership to the entire programme.
At present, the JTI programme has been successfully conducted in 10 regions island wide. “The ‘Mini Tennis’ or ‘Tennis 10s’ is a simpler mode of teaching children the game with modified equipment, while ‘Performance Tennis’ is a follow-up programme to the Tennis 10’s programme, where players are trained regularly and consistently, while getting the opportunity to play in more tournaments than before,” said SLTA President Iqbal Bin Issack. Over the past decade, an impressive number of talented students have participated in the JTI programme with noteworthy success, subsequently advancing to be eligible to participate in International Tournaments.
The SLTA has been able to successfully attract potential players to participate in its tournaments, opening doors for these players to gain further experience and self confidence to become successful professionals in the field. “Since the inception of the JTI programme in 1998, we have successfully groomed and produced many talented Tennis players in Sri Lanka, who have progressed to become noted performers,” elaborated Bin Issack. Some of the junior players from outstation to reach the next level in Tennis through the JTI programme are Ruvi Lewke Bandara (U-10 Girls), Angelica Kurera (U-12 Girls), Akhila Senarath (U-12 Boys), Samadi Jayasinghe (U-14 Girls), Ashen Silva (U-14 Boys), Prabudhi Perera (U-16 Girls), Nenuka Jayathilake (U-16 Boys) and Nishangan Nadaraja who represented the SL Davis Cup team.
The JTI is an endeavour implement by the International Tennis Federation since 1998, producing a significant number of skilled Tennis players across SL. Managing Director- P&S, Gihan Perera commenting on the sponsorship, said, “P&S is keen to develop and support the growth of a popular sport such as Tennis in SL, whilst paving the way for young talent to reach the pinnacle of their Tennis careers, and represent the nation in the international arena in the near future. We are proud to be a driving force behind the success of our nation’s future generation in Tennis.”
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