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21.12.2004 Tennis

Retired Stars To Rescue Tennis

By Maurice Quansah -Graphic
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Ghanaian tennis followers may have seen the last of Hall of Fame Frank Ofori and his compatriots, Kojo Atiso,Isaac Donkor and Nortey Dowuona on the centre courts of the Ohene Djan stadium defending the flag of Ghana in the Davis Cup competition.

In fact, many of these national heroes have either retired from active competition or are engaged in coaching and exhibition games. Despite retiring from the Golden Rackets and relocating in Europe and the United States in search of greener pastures, Ofori and his colleagues have not severed their ties with Ghana tennis but have teamed up to help restore the sport to its once envious position.

Ofori, presently in the country on holidays, is based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where he coaches at a tennis academy.Beginning next week through to January 8, 2005, Ofori and Donkor will organise series of clinics at the Ohene Djan stadium tennis courts for junior players and coaches, climaxing in a junior tournament for juniors and men.

Working under the acronym O.D.D.A.(Ofori, Donkor, Dowuona, and Atiso),sponsors of the programme, Ofori and his former doubles partner, Donkor, will on December 28 organise a clinic for kids with a view to helping them develop the basic skills and passion for the sport.The following day, Ofori and Donkor will take promising youngsters through more advanced drills of acquiring such beginners' craft as the proper handling of rackets, movements on the court, among others.

On December 30, the two instructors will impart their knowledge on modern methods in coaching to a select group of local coaches.Early next month O.D.D.A., in conjunction with the Ghana Tennis Association, will organise the O.D.D.A Junior Tennis Tournament at the stadium courts. Even though the focus will be on junior players, a Men's Open Doubles competition has been included on the menu.

The week-long junior tournament, from January 3 to 8, involves competitions for boys Under-18, boys Under-14, boys Under-10 and girls Under-18.Ofori told the Graphic Sports that O.D.D.A. was formed with a view to giving something back to the sport, especially as they realised the sport had a lot of potential but lacked the needed push to enable players develop their talents to the full.

“Tennis helped us a lot and we owe it a duty to give back to society, and this is the little contribution we can to help bring up the young ones,” he said.

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