TSHWANE, November 7, 2022 (Tennis South Africa Press Release)
Some of South Africa’s most promising young tennis players and their schools celebrated their success on the court after emerging triumphant in the nationwide finals of the BNP Paribas RCS Rising Star Tennis series, which were held in Pretoria between 4-6 November.
Taking tennis to the youth of South Africa for the third year, the 2022 edition of Rising Star Tennis involved a record number of 1 036 teams from around SA, competing in three divisions – primary school, high school, and wheelchair tennis.
Following district and provincial tournaments held earlier this year, which gave schools around South Africa the opportunity to qualify for the national finals, over 50 teams turned out in Pretoria as qualifiers or wild card entries.
Rising above stiff opposition, Meisieskool Oranje (Free State) and Paul Roos Gimnasium (Western Cape) secured the high school girls’ and boys’ titles, while Meisieskool Oranje (Free State) and De Hoop Primary (Western Cape) were victorious in the primary school girls’ and boys’ competitions.
In the wheelchair tennis division, which returned this year after a successful debut in the 2021 campaign, Adelaide Tambo School (Gauteng) won the girls’ final and Ithembelihle LSEN School (Gauteng) lifted the boys’ trophy.
There was also a surprise appearance by the Montsi brothers – 19-year-old Khololwan and 22-year-old Siphosothando – at the national finals.
The Montsi siblings – among the most promising players in SA, with Khololwan having been ranked 12th in the world as a junior and Siphosothando competing on the US collegiate circuit – showcased their talents in an exhibition match.
As part of the BNP Paribas RCS Rising Star Tennis campaign, the third edition of the series also included four development camps held around the country – in Beaufort West, Malelane and Namaqualand.
The clinics, which hosted hundreds of schools from historically disadvantaged areas, featured live and virtual sessions with Rising Star Tennis ambassadors such as Wimbledon finalist Kgothatso Montjane, rising star Kholo Montsi and award-winning sports presenter Carol Tshabalala.
Participating schools received donations of equipment from Tennis South Africa and its partners – BNP Paribas and RCS Group, giving them the resources, they require to join future editions of the Rising Star Tennis competition.
As proud sponsors of the BNP Paribas, RCS Rising Star Tennis Initiative, senior management including Kieran Fahy, Head of Territory, BNP Paribas South Africa and Regan Adams, CEO, RCS attended the Finals, and awarded trophies to the winning teams.
CEO of BNP Paribas Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) South Africa, Kieran Fahy, commented: “BNP Paribas is delighted to sponsor for the third year the BNP Paribas, RCS Rising Star Tennis Initiative. This year has a seen a record number of teams participate, and the roll out of four tennis development camps around the country to further support grass roots tennis in South Africa. I would like to extend sincere congratulations to all the teams for their commitment and participation.”
CEO of RCS Group, Regan Adams commented: “As we reflect on year three of this fantastic initiative, we at RCS are grateful to be part of a programme that leverages the power of sport to uplift communities and create a positive impact on the lives of countless South African youth. We have been most encouraged to see that the number of schools that participated from disadvantaged communities has increased by almost 50% from our first year. This year, our focus was on infrastructure development, which we achieved by upgrading the tennis facilities of a local school in Johannesburg. The programme also enabled us to donate sporting gear and equipment to schools across various provinces.
Tennis is part of our DNA as BNP Paribas support many tennis initiatives globally. Not only is this part of our tradition to support the sport, but this programme also reflects the group’s Environmental, Social and Governance values – creating an impact that extends beyond a tennis court, into the communities and economies in which we operate.”
TSA President, Gavin Crookes, thanked the sponsors for their unwavering commitment to local tennis, “We are very fortunate to have the backing of BNP Paribas and RCS as partners for local tennis. Both brands are passionate about making a tangible difference in communities with their sponsorship and these past three years are a clear sign of their deep commitment.
“The success of the initiative has surpassed all our expectations, from starting with only just under 400 schools in 2019 to over 1000 schools this year. It was such a great honour to witness the discovery of some amazing tennis talent this year, especially from schools in historically disadvantaged communities,” added Crookes.