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 . 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