Mini tennis proves a big hit with local youngsters

Primary schools from Ealing, Hounslow, Westminster and Wandsworth were involved as 10 of the capital’s boroughs competed in the London Kids Tennis Challenge (LKTC) – an Inspired By project connected to London 2012.

The grand finals, held in Hyde Park, were won by St Mary’s of Hounslow.

LKTC is an inter-schools competition designed to give children a taste of mini tennis, which is played with a softer ball and a lower net to make it easier for them to enjoy.

The event, which is in its inaugural year, is run by London-based charity Tennis For A Life, which has been set up to introduce sport to children and young people in communities across the region.

“Mini tennis makes it easy for young kids to get playing and it makes it much more fun for them,” said Tennis For A Life trustee Steve Riley.

“Our aim is to make tennis enjoyable and keep them playing so that we can find the next Andy Murray or Serena Williams.”

Tennis For A Life sent trained coaches into primary schools across London to run mini-tennis taster sessions and provided rackets, balls and nets for free.

The schools then nominated a boy and a girl from each session to take part in the grand finals.

The Royal Parks chief executive Linda Lennon said: “This is a fantastic way to get schools across London to come together to take advantage of the great sporting facilities we have in the Royal Parks.

“The standard of tennis was very high and hopefully some of these children will be inspired by London 2012.”

Tennis is an excellent hand-eye-coordination sport and is often the stepping stone of getting children into the world of sport and competition. There may be room in the future for other sporting initiatives worthy of the Olympics such as archery and sharpshooting, only bb guns have usage restrictions and archery ranges are not as widespread in the city anymore.

LKTC is one of 2,700 projects nationwide officially recognised by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games as being inspired by the London 2012 Olympics.

For more information on the Inspired By initiative, please click here

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