Youngsters shine at JN Open Kiddies Clinic
It is a regular occurrence to see Jhordine and Shaniqua Savage playing tennis at their home with the zest and vitality which is normally seen on a tennis court in competitive matches.
Consequently, when the sisters were given the chance to attend the JN Open Tennis Championship Kiddies Clinic, they grasped the opportunity that would enable them to refine their self-taught skills through formal coaching; and to hopefully, one day, take their game from their yard to a real tennis court.
And this came true. Both Jordine and Shaniqua, age nine and 12, respectively, were placed among the top five of the 27 participants in the Kiddies Clinic. Each secured a one-year training scholarship at the Liguanea Club to develop their basic skills after being deemed promising.
Rounding out the top five recipients of one-year scholarships were: Harbour View Primary's Tristan Bethun, Armando Carter and Amelia Calvert.
Michelle Webster Gauntlette, youth marketing officer at Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), says the Kiddies Clinic was introduced two years ago, as a training initiative, associated with Jamaica National's annual sponsorship of the JN Open Tennis Championship.
"Our objective was to expose youngsters who had already declared their interest in the sport at an early age, to provide an opportunity for them to refine their skills in a formal setting and move to another level," Mrs Webster Gauntlette stated.
"Based on the enthusiasm, we observed on the court at the Liguanea Club, we know that some of these participants have already fallen in love with the sport; and we may very well have some emerging tennis stars,." the youth marketing officer declared.
An elated Shaniqua, the older of the two sisters, related that their informal home-based family activity, gave them the confidence that was displayed on the court.
"We are very excited to be here, as we are used to playing at home; but not on an actual tennis court. Therefore, this experience is extremely fun. We learned how to hold the racket properly; and how to hit the ball over the net with speed," she outlined.
Andrew Savage was present to witness his daughters' triumph and could not contain his excitement. Following the announcement, he dashed onto the court to celebrate with them and the other top performers.
"I am so happy that my daughters received this opportunity. I watch them play at home and sometimes we all play as a family. It is such a good feeling that they will now be exposed to the game in a more formal manner, and, hopefully, to go on to greater things."