While the rest of the world has been watching Wimbledon, three St Andrews students have given up their summer to coach aspiring tennis players in Zambia.
The students – all members of the University Tennis Club – launched the new volunteer project which involved coaching players at the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC) in Lusaka.
The St Andrews Tennis Project Programme saw Anna Shackleton, Regi Monroe and Ridwan Pfluger training up to 100 Zambians over the past four weeks, alongside Zambian’s No 1 tennis player, Edgar Kazembe.
The idea behind the programme grew from a conference attended by Director of Sport at St Andrews, Stephen Stewart, and Marketing and Business Development Manager, Fergus Knight.
Stephen explained: “The Tennis Volunteering Project in Lusaka is a new and exciting venture for Saints Sport and builds on our longstanding work in Zambia as part of the Wallace Group. It is hugely important for us to continue to develop our international volunteering projects so that we can provide new and exciting opportunities and experiences for our sports students.
“Our tennis volunteers have trained hard throughout the year working on local coaching projects in St Andrews as part of our Community Engagement initiative, in preparation for their life-shaping trip, which is self-funded and will change the lives of many young Zambian athletes.”
The University is developing one of the most advanced student tennis programmes in Scotland, offering student athletes a range of coaching, training and support opportunities. With over 200 members, the Tennis Club is one of the University’s high performance clubs which caters for all levels of player from beginner to 1st Team.
With four women’s and four men’s teams playing in BUCS (British Universities & Colleges Sport) leagues, St Andrews has more competitive teams in British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) leagues than any other UK university. The Men’s 1st team are in Scottish Division 1 (winning the title in 2013-14) and the Women’s 1st and 2nd teams are both in Scottish Division 1. St Andrews is the only university in the UK to have two teams in the top division.
In addition to offering opportunities to its top student tennis players, Saints Sport provides secondary school tennis coaching and Saturday night sessions for local teenagers, through its successful Community Engagement Scheme.
The Zambia Tennis Association (ZTA) and the Olympic Youth Development Centre both welcomed the St Andrews Tennis Project Programme, with OYDC Director Clement Chileshe commenting: “We would like to thank the University of St Andrews for the support not only on tennis but on various aspects of sport development in the country. This has greatly helped the development of the community and youth sport in the country. Our Coach Edgar Kazembe has in the past few years dominated the region. And we believe when we engage the young people and train them properly with the equipment, we will be able to produce athletes who will bring honour to this country.”
Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews, contactable on 01334 462530 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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