Tanzania wheelchair tennis players have opened a training camp in Dar es Salaam to gear up for the BNP Paribas East African qualifier event to be staged in Nairobi for seven days from January 15.
The team’s coach Riziki Salum yesterday named the provisional squad of nine players expected to join the camp at Kijitonyama tennis courts in Dar es Salaam next week.
He said this will be Tanzania maiden appearance at the event and they need to prepare well as they will face tough challenge from other countries’ competitors.
He named the players from Jangwani Secondary School as Rehema Seleman, Scholastica Pius and Bihawa Mustapha while from Pugu Secondary School has Novatus Emmanuel, Adil Hashim and Anthony Bernard.
Tomas Kihiyo, Yohana Mwila and Ernest Nyabalale are not students but included in the squad.
He said Tanzania Paralympics Committee (TPC) needs more than 5m/- to send the team to the event.
The coach unveiled the squad in Dar es Salaam during the prize presentation ceremony of the just ended BQ junior open tennis tournament.
He thanked management of BQ for including the disabled at this year’s event and he asked other companies and organisations to emulate a good example set by BQ.
BQ managing director John Bura promised a continued support to wheelchair tennis at all future tournaments sponsored by his company.
Former Prime Minister Fredrick Sumaye who was the guest of honour at the event applauded BQ Construction Company for incorporating the disabled people at the event.
Sumaye urged companies in the country to help the Government in the development of sports, saying a sport is vital in development.
“We must thank BQ Constructors for this annual tournament, on a personal note I am very happy with what I saw today. I have seen a lot of talents and I am asking companies to seriously consider supporting the disabled people in sports”, he said.
Ian Attfield who was the overall winner in the disabled category donated the money he won to Tanzania Paralympics Committee to help the national wheelchair team prepare well for the January tournament in Nairobi.
Attfield who works with the British High Commission in Dar es Salaam said the country has a lot of talented wheelchair tennis players only that they lack some basic training equipments.
He also asked TPC to have programs for developing young players saying that the future of any sport is always about developing young talents.