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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Sports: Girls tennis tourney a smash hit at St. Davids courts
Competitors in last Saturday’s girls tennis tourney in St. Davids celebrate on the court. PUTRI SUKMANTARI
Competitors gather round tournament director Kendra Osa, left, and Rosemary Goodwin of the NOTL Tennis Club, as the tournament gets under way Saturday. PUTRI SUKMANTARI
Kayla Williams, left, of the Hespeler Tennis Club in Cambridge took the silver medal in singles play and Teya Moody, of the Hillcrest Tennis Club in North York, won gold. SUPPLIED

Mariya Yurukova
Special to The Lake Report

Young tennis enthusiasts, all girls ranging in age from 10 to 14, gathered at the Lions Club Park in St. Davids for an exhilarating tournament on Saturday, Sept. 9.

Drawing participants from both the Niagara area and as far as Mississauga, Cambridge and Richmond Hill, the event was a resounding success.

It was part of Tennis Canada’s “Girls. Set. Match.” program to enhance competitive opportunities for girls, and it created an atmosphere of fun and camaraderie for girls, parents and volunteers alike.

Registration for the tournament filled up in just three days and attracted 17 participants.

Throughout the day, the courts were abuzz with activity as players engaged in some thrilling matches.

Each participant was guaranteed a minimum of four matches, ensuring a day filled with riveting tennis action.

Spectators, who included players, parents and educators, expressed their joy at having an opportunity to partake in a competition tailored specifically for girls.

“These kinds of activities are usually out of reach and require travel to other cities. It is great to see this happening in Niagara,” one parent commented.

The girls relished the chance to play against different opponents and compete in a dynamic format.

Unlike team sports, tennis empowers girls to solve challenges independently, cultivating their mental fortitude, self-confidence, athleticism and skill.

Behind the scenes, the tourney ran seamlessly thanks to the efforts of Niagara tennis coach Kendra Osa and a dedicated group of volunteers.

Joining in on the action was Fast and Female, an organization dedicated to promoting girls in sports. Their engaging activities, ranging from beading stations to footwork drills and games, provided ample entertainment in between matches.

The Ontario Tennis Association and Fast and Female sponsored the day, providing participants with sweatshirts and swag bags to commemorate their involvement.

The tournament serves as a beacon of hope and progress in the world of girls’ sports.

According to a study by Canadian Women in Sports in partnership with Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities, one in every three girls drops out of sports during adolescence, compared to only one in 10 boys.

And as many as 62 per cent of Canadian girls do not participate in any form of sport. Programs like “Girls. Set. Match.” are vital steps toward closing these gaps and ensuring girls have equal access to the benefits of sports participation. 

The event would not have been possible without the support of long-term NOTL tennis promoters Rosemary Goodwin and Karen Wright, along with area tennis enthusiasts including Jen Allen, Stephanie Bonetta, Sandy Burns, Sunni Cao and Margarette Miarecki.

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