Brandon Moyo, Sports Reporter
YOUNG tennis sensation, Emmly Lebogang George will put her skills to the test once again as she is headed to the Africa Junior Championships finals which will be held in Maputo, Mozambique from October 16 to 23.
The 11-year-old star, will be alongside Akeelah Khanye and Kuzivaishe Chapepa whom she won the Southern Africa Qualifications with in April. The trio are all from Bulawayo and will be representing the country in the Under-12 tournament.
George and Chapepa will participate in two South African tournaments from Friday till October 10 and will use the tournament as part of preparation for the main event which is the Africa Junior Championships.
Speaking to Chronicle Sport, her father who is also her coach Mkhululi George said the preparations for the tournament have been going smoothly.
“In terms of preparation for this tournament, Emmly has continued to work with her Daddy Coach, coach George and she has a dedicated team around her including Ransom Chikunichawa, a Level Two coach and Keletso Malane,” George said.
He added: “The training has been intense as the team has been trying to build her all round game and she will have to up her game to be competitive at such a higher stage of tennis.”
Covid-19 restrictions slowed down her development, as training was barred to limited spaces with no tournaments or practice courts, the youngster however, managed to use all she had to improve herself during the difficult days of lockdowns.
As the big event was building up, the Grade Six pupil has participated in six national tournaments, where one was in Bulawayo and the Zimbabwe Junior Open Championship held in Masvingo which she all won. She managed to scoop gold in all singles and doubles events.
Inspired by American teenager Cori Dionne “Coco” Gauff and Swiss maestro Roger Federer, Emmly will be hoping to optimise the exposure she will get from playing at such a big stage.
“Best of all the lessons she will carry from there should champion her to become a better player and person,” said the father.
Despite being a talented player with a bright future, finding sponsorship has been the biggest hassle for the youngster and her family as they do not have formal sponsorship to fund her development and tours thus making tournaments attendance a challenge for her family.
The family is therefore appealing to well-wishers to assist the young tennis sensation’s facilitation for the warm up tournaments in South Africa and the Africa Junior Championships.
“For this tour, the family is appealing for donations from companies and individuals which will facilitate her warm up tournament in South Africa and the Africa Junior Championships finals,” George said. – @brandon_malvin