CityPress - - Sport -

num­ber one tennis player Arthur Ashe, is un­happy. His com­plaint re­lates to a lack of spon­sor­ship.

“We ap­peal to spon­sors to come and res­cue us so that our play­ers can com­pete at in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions,” he pleaded.

Nthup­ing said spon­sor­ship would help play­ers par­tic­i­pate in more com­pe­ti­tions, which would help them gain points that would lead to their get­ting higher rank­ings.

High rank­ing play­ers get in­vited to na­tional and in­ter­na­tional tour­na­ments.

“Some­times, we can’t host in­ter­na­tional tour­na­ments be­cause our play­ers will not even qual­ify to par­tic­i­pate.”

An elated Mokone, who leaves in June for the UK, said all she wants is to see her­self rep­re­sent­ing South Africa.

Those be­hind the fundrais­ing claim that about R70 000 was raised within a week.

Pro­fes­sional ser­vices firm PwC do­nated R46 715 to cover the full cost of Mokone’s trip. The money was to be de­posited straight into Tennis SA’s ac­count last week.

Lepule Con­sul­tants do­nated R15 000 to cover other costs such as meals, the UK visa, tennis equip­ment, cloth­ing and toi­letries.

Kaya FM was first to re­port on Mokone’s plight, and the ra­dio station’s lis­ten­ers con­trib­uted al­most R8 000, which would be put into a sav­ings ac­count that the station would open on her be­half.

Nthup­ing speaks highly of Mokone, saying: “Amuke­lani is a hard worker. When you ask her to do some­thing, she goes an ex­tra mile.”

Nthup­ing said Mokone’s fo­cus, commitment and at­ti­tude would take her far.

While the coach was happy about her UK trip, he felt that Mokone was treated un­fairly in 2015, when she was sup­posed to re­ceive a bur­sary but did not, af­ter which “flimsy ex­cuses” were pro­vided.

He said: “They said she did not re­ceive it be­cause she was fat. How can a tiny lit­tle girl like her be said to be fat? They said she was older than 15, but she is still not 15.”

Mokone will only turn 15 on De­cem­ber 28.

BOND Amuke­lani Mokone with her sup­port­ive granny Tsakane

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