Last week, national tennis coach Malcolm Kajer and one of his talented junior players from Rarotonga Maka Maui, visited the Pa Enua to share their love of tennis with enthusiasts on the island.
Kajer said nine-year old Maka Maui impressed and inspired the tennis players on Mangaia, both youth and adults.
During the week of tennis on Mangaia, Kajer and Maui ran clinics for children and adults to prepare the island players for a number of events including the Mangaia Tri Series sports gathering at the end of the year.
Kajer said he was impressed at the speed with which the Mangaia youth picked up tennis techniques and the skills being shared.
“There is so much talent and I could see improvements in the kids daily.”
Among the talented tennis players on Mangaia is 15-year old Angela Whyte who was part of the touring junior tennis team that competed strongly in Auckland recently.
Kajer said the tennis development tour to Mangaia also aimed to help improve Whyte’s tennis technique, as she is tipped to be the standout on the court come the Mangaia Tri Series.
Whyte is also set to visit Rarotonga for a number of junior events on the island.
Kajer said the tennis development programme, which saw up to 40 youngsters turn out to the Mangaia tennis courts, was made possible by the donation of gear including a new net, racquets and tennis balls by Tennis Cook Islands.
While on Mangaia Kajer was also able to deliver the ANZ Tennis in Schools programme to primary students on the island. Again, he was impressed with the speed in which kids picked up basic tennis courts.
“We couldn’t keep the kids off the court. There is so much talent and passion for tennis on the island.”
With new energy for tennis development on the island, including the appointment of Terepai Ruatoe as a national coach for Mangaia, Kajer says to expect tennis stars coming from the Pa Enua soon. He would like to thank ANZ Bank, Tennis Cook Islands, Mangaia Sports Association, Mangaia Tennis president Babe Pokino and of course Angela Whyte and her family for hosting the Rarotonga tennis duo.
Meanwhile on Rarotonga, Avatea School students are performing more strongly on the courts as they continue to take advantage of the tennis in schools programme sponsored by ANZ Bank.
Weekly junior tennis lessons and fun competitions continue to run at the National Tennis Courts on Saturday. Parents are encouraged to take children who are keen to play tennis and join the growing group of junior tennis stars.