Young tennis players from Francistown left quite an indelible mark at the Junior Tennis Open in Gaborone recently. The eight players won 11 medals, including six titles. Francistown School of Tennis Director Dominique Raguin said they are happy to have made a strong impression at the championships which were recently held at Notwane since the youngsters are groomed there. In the under 10 singles there was Mark Nawa and Naledi Raguin, the Under 12 had Lesedi Raguin and Leungo Monnagoo, and Tatenda Mukudu in the Under 14 category. Naledi Raguin, Monnagoo and Mukudu all made it to the finals in their categories and won titles. In the doubles they took home three titles out of the six available. The director said if one of their athletes Lesedi Raguin didn’t get sick on the final day of the tournament, their count medal would have gone high. “His sickness resulted in him forfeiting the U12 doubles and the singles finals,” he said. Raguin snr said he started grooming tennis talent in Francistown four years ago when he came to Botswana from France with his wife and kids.
Raguin snr said they found a lot of kids who were idling and decided to do something about it. “We then put them together, taught them specific values on training and discipline,” he said. He said with the centre that they started with their own money, they were able to teach them that you get what you deserve and that they have to train well to win. He said theirs is the only professional centre in the country which has its own premises, full time administrators and full time coaches. Members pay a small administrative fee and they look for sponsorship for outstanding youngsters whose parents cannot be able to afford to pay for them. “We are giving these children a chance in a structured environment,” he added. He said they are aware that it takes about 10 years to train a champion, and as such it is their mandate to make sure that they prepare those kids at a very young age as early as five in order to have people that can be able to raise the Botswana flag high in tennis.