Melbourne & Olympic Parks, Olympic Blvd, Melbourne VIC • 3001, Australia, 9 March 2017 | Tennis Australia

The Tennis for Schools program, a joint initiative by Tennis Australia and the Australian Government, visited Chengdu last weekend with a two day teacher and coach workshop.

Following the success of the pilot scheme in Shanghai last June, Tennis Australia took the program west, to Chadianzi Primary School.

The workshop, led by Rob Urquhart, Tennis Australia’s Programs Development Coordinator, trained 32 PE teachers and 18 tennis coaches. Teachers attending the workshop received all the skills, knowledge, equipment and lesson plans needed to deliver a six week program to Year 3 students.

Members of Tennis Australia’s coaching team are currently travelling to 16 local schools in Chengdu to support teachers in delivering their first lessons. At the culmination of the six-week program on 10 June, the schools will come together for a participation festival.

Tennis Australia delivered the program in Chengdu as part of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Asian Sports Partnerships (ASP) initiative.

Launched last year by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Ms Julie Bishop MP, the ASP aims to make a positive contribution across the Asian region through effective sports partnerships.

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

Rob Urquhart believes the project achieved all its aims and more.

“The two day Tennis for Schools workshop was so well received that the teachers were bursting to start the program in their schools,” he said.

“The perception that tennis is a difficult sport to deliver is a thing of the past. The workshop has empowered the teachers with the skills and confidence to deliver tennis anywhere, on any surface and to large classes of up to 50 children.”

Tennis Australia’s Tennis for Schools partners, the Chengdu Education Bureau, the Chengdu Sports Commission, Chengdu Tennis Centre and the Chengdu Foreign Affairs Office, were equally delighted with the success of the program.

“Chengdu Education Bureau places strategic focus on promoting sports and healthy lifestyle among students from primary to high schools,” said Wu Xiao Gang, Chengdu Education Bureau’s Director of Sports, Health, Arts and Science.

“CEB is delighted to partner with Tennis Australia in implementing the Tennis for Schools program. On campus, students are more interested in participating in a new sport such as tennis.

“We sincerely appreciate the support and contribution of Tennis Australia and our local partners in bringing the enjoyment of tennis to students in 16 schools here in Chengdu, and we look forward to welcoming participating students to the festival in June.”

“The Tennis for Schools program is a strategically important plan for increasing tennis population in Chengdu,” said He Qiu, Director of the Chengdu Tennis Centre.

“Over the last ten years, we have worked closely with the CEB in teaching primary school students the basic techniques of tennis. This year, we are honoured to be partnering with Tennis Australia in delivering the Tennis for Schools program in Chengdu. We are keen to explore future cooperation and projects with Tennis Australia and local partners for planning and implementing the next ten-year schools tennis program in Chengdu.”