20 June 2016 | Tennis Australia

Tennis Australia celebrated the success of the Australian Open Tennis In Schools pilot program in Shanghai at a special festival on Saturday 18 June.

Sixteen school teachers, seven tennis coaches and 250 participants from six local primary schools came together to mark the occasion.

Tennis Australia and the Australian Open, with the support of the Shanghai Sports Bureau and Shanghai Education Bureau, partnered with the Shanghai Tennis Association to deliver the pilot tennis program during the last six weeks.

Tennis Australia’s National Schools Manager Rebecca McDonald and National Education Project Manager Mitchell Hewitt travelled to China in April to visit the primary schools and host a two-day workshop to support teachers in delivering tennis lessons to their students and provide tennis equipment.

“We are delighted to have given so many children the opportunity to play tennis in schools as part of this successful pilot program in Shanghai,” Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said.

“It’s exciting to see the enthusiasm of all involved, the children, coaches, teachers and schools and it bodes well for the future growth and engagement of tennis within China.”

Tennis Australia delivered the pilot program in Shanghai as part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Asian Sports Partnerships (ASP) initiative. The successful national Tennis In Schools program was adapted to cater specifically for children in Shanghai.

Launched by Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Ms Julie Bishop MP, the ASP aims to make a positive contribution to public diplomacy outcomes in the Asian region through effective sports partnerships.

A key objective is to promote the benefits of an active lifestyle to children, gender equality in sport and create opportunities for children to continue playing tennis in the future.

On Saturday each child received a certificate of participation, an Australian Open t-shirt, photos with the Australian Open trophies and an invitation to continue playing tennis through existing Shanghai Tennis Association programs.