American tennis star Vania King is in Uganda on a sports outreach programme, ChimpCorps have learnt.
King who won the 2010 Wimbledon and US Open women’s doubles title will be conducting tennis at East Kololo Primary School in Kampala.
The superstar says her trip is a philanthropic enterprise aimed at encouraging youngsters to take up the sport.
“My goal is not to create 200 champions today but it’s an opportunity to give them a racket, go and have fun. If in their heads they think they can do more of this then we can go from there,” King tells ChimpReports in an exclusive interview on Saturday afternoon in Kampala.
The Masters graduate of computed nonprofit management was attracted by Barefoot lawyers work with underprivileged communities.
However, she is cognizant of challenges that come with playing this affluent sport.
Notably, King says not only is the gear expensive but also opportunities are hard to come by.
“There are not enough resources at all, enough facilities and not enough help. It like catch 22,” she says.
Teens that turned up for trainings left a lasting impression on her.
However to maximize talents, King says emphasis must be placed on grassroots nurturing.
“When they get to the point when they are playing national tournaments or on a high level, then they can start thinking of going outside. Right now it’s important that they have a strong base at home,” she advises.
According to Timothy Kakuru, the programmes director Barefoot lawyers, the pilot project has attracted over 200 children mainly drawn from underprivileged areas.
These include slums of Naguru, Kamwokya and Luzira.
Over 120 tennis rackets were donated by the Women Tennis Association (WTA).
On her part, Judy Murray, mother to Tennis ace Andy Murray donated an unspecified assortment comprising beam bags and ribbons.
Relatedly, legal trainings were conducted to sensitize minors on their rights.
Kakuru says many of these are prone to abuse.
Facts about Vania King
Aged 30 years, King is the youngest of four children born to David King and Karen King. The California native started playing tennis at the tender age of four.
Her brother Phillip is a two-time US junior champion.
She hit the top 100 ranking when she was 17 and four years later won the grand slam doubles.