|Grand Slam® Development Fund|
|The ITF and Olympic Solidarity|
Since the reintroduction of tennis into the Olympic family in 1988, the International Tennis Federation through its Tennis Development Department has collaborated closely with Olympic Solidarity (OS) on a variety of programmes designed to grow tennis around the world.
|Marcos Baghdatis from Cyprus has benefited from an Olympic Scholarship|
|Kaia Kanepi from Estonia was awarded an Olympic Solidarity scholarship|
|Komlavi Loglo training at the ITF Spanish Training Centre|
|Rafael Arevalo (ESA) in action as a junior|
|A Regional Specific Theme course took place in El Salvador in November 07 thanks to OS funding|
|ITF/OS Level 2 Coaches course - Thailand - September 07|
|Tatiana Abdulkhakova from Azerbaijan on court during her stay in Spain|
|Doug MacCurdy coaching India's national mens team|
Through Olympic Solidarity, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) works with athletes, coaches, sports administrators, National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and International Federations to support the worldwide development of all sport. Olympic Solidarity is the part of the IOC that distributes television income from the Olympic Games to the NOCs.
To date, tennis has benefited enormously from the OS Programme and below are details of some of the programmes which are of particular interest to tennis:
The Olympic Scholarship programme was established to assist athletes nominated by their respective NOCs in their preparation for future Olympic Games. The ITF recommends talented young players for consideration by OS and helps in their assessment of applications received. From 2001 to 2004, a total of 24 tennis players from 21 countries benefited from OS Olympic Scholarships to train at high-level centres, either abroad or at home, in order to enable them to prepare for Athens 2004 or Beijing 2008.
2003 ITF Junior World Champion, Marcos Baghdatis is an example of the effectiveness of the programme. The 18-year old from Cyprus received an OS Scholarship in 2002, 2003 and 2004 which allowed him to train at the Bob Brett Tennis Academy in Paris. In 2003, he won the Australian Open Boys’ event, Osaka Mayor’s Cup and the Orange Bowl, and finished the year as the No 1-ranked junior. “I am very proud of playing for Cyprus,” said Baghdatis. “Tennis is not so big there, but hopefully my success will encourage more people to start playing”. With a wild card into the 2004 Olympics and reaching the singles final of the 2006 Australian Open, Baghdatis’ impact on the game on his island can only grow.
The Athens programme has now been superseded by Olympic Scholarships for Athletes "Beijing 2008" and since the beginning of 2005, a total of four players from four countries have benefited this programme, as follows:
Lamine Ouahab – M – Algeria
Shahar Peer – F – Israel
Mandy Minella – F – Luxembourg
Denis Istomin – M - Uzbekistan
2012 - Training Grants for Young Athletes
The objective of this programme is to identify talented younger athletes who have demonstrated a good standard at international level (and who have a good chance of participating at a future Olympic Games) and provide them with the opportunity of high-level training at a recognised international Training Centre. Since January 2005 a total of 13 players from 13 countries who have already proven themselves on the ITF Junior Circuit (top 20 Junior ITF ranking) have utilised these Training Grants.
Two examples are Rafael Arevalo of El Salvador and Komlavi Loglo of Togo who have both received funding through this programme for a number of years, allowing them to be based at several Training Centres in Spain.
“Spain is a country with an established tennis tradition and is an ideal place for top young players to get professional tournament experience without having to travel far,” said Dave Miley, Executive Director of Tennis Development.
Having built upon the experience of training and playing in Spain, both men are currently competing on the ITF Men's Circuit and have played a number of Davis Cup ties for their respective nations. On this basis, they have received Tripartite Commission Invitation places in singles for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Tennis Event, meaning that both El Salvador and Togo will be represented at the Olympic Tennis Event for the first time ever.
The following players are receiving a Training Grant in 2008:
|Recipients of OS Training Grants for Young Athletes|
|Name||Date of Birth||Nationality|
|Rafael Arevalo||4.7.86||El Salvador|
|Lofo Ramiaramanana||14.6.89||Madagascar||Petru Luncanu||7.5.89||Romania|
|Abigail Tere-Apisah||13.7.92||Papua New Guinea|
Under this programme, NOCs may also receive a budget from OS to help talented young athletes based in that country to continue their training in their own country.
The objective of this programme is to offer training for coaches in all Olympic Sports. OS will only support courses that follow a structure utilising approved International Federation syllabi (eg Level 1, Level 2 etc.). In addition, OS also supports regional courses. It is important for National Associations wishing to hold national Level 1 and Level 2 courses to approach their NOCs directly to apply for funding as each year the NOCs will receive a budget for “national” technical courses.
For regional courses, the ITF liaises directly with Olympic Solidarity to propose the organisation of these courses on a regional basis as appropriate and therefore, National Associations should liaise with the ITF Office in London or the relevant ITF Development Officer regarding possible courses.
Coaches Education has been one of the main areas of activity and over the last four years, 50% of the 204 coaches’ courses organised by the ITF have been funded through Olympic Solidarity. Of the 58 courses held in 2007, 20 of these were funded by Olympic Solidarity. The ITF’s role is to help national associations run the courses, assess coaches and future tutors, and to make sure the latest coaching information and approved syllabi are available to them.
“Coaches are the cornerstone to any successful tennis nation,” said Dave Miley. “It is encouraging to see an increasing number of ITF member nations working with us to put in place their own coaches certification programme and benefiting from the support of their NOCs and Olympic Solidarity.”
Scholarships for Coaches
The objective of this programme is to offer coaches the possibility of receiving high-level training outside of their respective countries. These scholarships provide the opportunity for coaches to receive training in Sports Sciences or short-term sports specific training at high-level training centres or sports universities worldwide. The scholarships can cover training for between one and six months.
In 2007, Olympic Solidarity provided Olympic Scholarships for two coaches (Tatiana Abdulkhakova from Azerbaijan and Jose de la Cruz of Cuba) to undergo a three-month intensive course of high-level training, practical experience and theoretical study in Valencia, Spain. In 2006, Wilfredo Henry (CUB), Radhika Tulpule (IND), Farah Dayoub (SYR), Richard Gonzalez (URU), Alfredo Campos (CHI), Amir Borghei (IRI), Chris Barathiraj Pillai (SRI), Lency Tenai (SOL) and Finau Fa (FIJ) all benefited from this OS scholarship programme.
For further information on this programme, please click here.
Development of a National Coaching Structure
This programme was established to help a specific sport to develop a national coaching structure. It provides funding to National Olympic Committees to enable their National Associations to employ an experienced foreign coach on a mid- to long-term basis to help them set up a national development plan and coaching structure. The ITF’s role is to assist in the selection of the coach and offer technical support throughout the project. Coaches are involved in training local coaches and establishing effective elite and grass roots programmes at national level.
The best recent example of this collaboration has been in China, where thanks to OS funding through this programme, the ITF appointed Doug MacCurdy to work for a two year period (from May 2005 to June 2007), with the Chinese Tennis Association to establish player development programmes ahead of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. The CTA had asked for a person to guide their coaches and young players, but more importantly, to evaluate, advise, and implement enhanced programmes in the areas of talent identification, training methods, coaches’ education, competitive structure and systematic development.
“The joint objective of the ITF and Olympic Solidarity is to promote the development of sport, from grass roots to elite level, all over the world,“ said Miley. “With over 200 ITF member nations, each with their different needs, this is no small task but I am pleased to see that, thanks to the good cooperation between the ITF, OS and their respective partners, many of the initiatives put in place over the past four years are starting to bear fruit. It bodes well for the continued growth of tennis on a truly international scale.”
Due to the success of this jointly funded project, Doug MacCurdy is now assisting the All India Tennis Association in 2008 with a similar one year programme, focusing on coach education and high performance training.
In order to benefit from Olympic Solidarity funding, it is important for National Associations to continue to build and maintain good relations with their National Olympic Committees and that they discuss with them on a regular basis the possibility of tennis benefiting from some of the above mentioned programmes.
For further information on Olympic Solidarity, please click here.