SOWETO TENNIS

CityPress - - Sport - SIL­VER SIBIYA sil­ver.sibiya@city­press.co.za

Soweto’s Arthur Ashe Tennis Cen­tre has churned out a num­ber of tal­ented play­ers who have won top hon­ours and even earned bur­saries, but it still has one Achilles heel – fund­ing. A fort­night ago, City Press re­ported on the fate of ris­ing star Amuke­lani Mokone, who was strug­gling to raise funds for a trip to the UK that would include a visit to Wim­ble­don.

As with many sto­ries with a good end­ing, Mokone has man­aged to se­cure fund­ing, thanks to a few busi­nesses and in­di­vid­u­als who an­swered her cries for help.

Coach Oupa Nthup­ing tells us that Mokone is not the only shin­ing star at this academy that is an oa­sis of ex­cel­lence in the bustling and some­times dusty town­ship of Soweto.

Ma­sodi Senona (11), who won when rep­re­sent­ing Gaut­eng at the SA Na­tional Cham­pi­onships in Dur­ban in 2016, is a proud re­cip­i­ent of a R100 000-a-year bur­sary for the next five years.

An­other player who has made the academy proud is Jan­smith Mo­eng (16). He earned his bur­sary in 2014, but only started re­ceiv­ing the funds this year, ap­par­ently be­cause the bur­sary took some time to process.

The bur­sary covers school fees, cloth­ing, sport science sup­port and trans­port to tennis events.

Ab­ner Dick (14), who joined the Jabavu-based academy three years ago af­ter win­ning her bur­sary, said her dream was to get a schol­ar­ship to study abroad.

“I would like to go abroad just like my sis­ter Arial [19]. She went to Eng­land through a tennis schol­ar­ship,” Dick said.

Dick was one of 10 play­ers who rep­re­sented the South African Un­der-13 team in New Or­leans, US, in 2014.

Even with this con­sid­er­able suc­cess, Nthup­ing, who leads the academy, which is named af­ter the first black world

PART­NER­SHIP Amuke­lani Mokone with coach Oupa Nthup­ing

THRILLED Amuke­lani Mokone is ex­cited about her trip to the UK in June

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