Under the Patronage of H.h. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai
Over 120 children enjoyed an exciting morning on the tennis courts at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships today as they participated in the Dubai Duty Free Special Needs Clinic.
Children from Dubai Autism Center, Dubai Center for Special Needs, Al Noor Training Centre, Manzil Centre Sharjah and from the Sports Heroes Academy at Sunmarke School, enjoyed tennis lessons and received a special visit from the tournament’s third seed doubles pair of Rajeev Ram and Ivan Dodig.
The Special Needs Clinic is specifically designed to offer a fun and complete tennis experience for children with special needs, and Ram and Dodig were pleased to be involved.
Ram said “I think it’s really great to see these kids who love tennis get a chance to participate in an awesome event like this, so it’s great to be a part of it. I think all round everyone is having fun and you can see they are enjoying themselves. They are outside and they are doing something different so I think they are having a good time, I know we are.”
Dodig said “It’s really nice to see so many kids here, enjoying the sport and trying to bring something new in their lives. We had great fun and hopefully they can continue to enjoy tennis. It’s always a pleasure for us to do this.”
Jon Guntly, CF Tennis Coach said “Today is honestly the best day of the tournament, it is when we get all of our coaches to give back to those that are a little bit less fortunate than most. It is one of the best days, all the coaches agree on it and we really enjoy today. It gives the kids a chance to perhaps do something and play some sports that maybe they haven’t had the chance to before.
“It’s great for the ball kids who are involved as well, as I said no one comes away from today and doesn’t feel proud of themselves and of what they have done. I think it’s a great opportunity for all parties involved for sure.”
Heather Copeland, a teacher at Dubai Centre for Special Needs said “As always it’s a lovely set-up, the students are getting a lot of attention; they are playing a lot of tennis. This is my third time here with the students. It’s always a fantastic day out, they always look forward to coming here. They love playing tennis and it’s a great experience for them.
“These clinics are beneficial for the students. They work on their hand-to-eye coordination, as well as getting them out and doing something in the outside world. It’s perfect actually and they are very spoilt here, they get lots of attention which is what they deserve really.”
Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman of Dubai Duty Free, said: “This is our opportunity to give back to the community and every year we aim to provide a unique experience for these children. We are delighted with the turnout again and we hope we have offered an experience they will always remember.”
Tournament Director, Salah Tahlak was delighted to see the children enjoying the day. “The special needs clinics are a very important element of our community program, and it is great to see the children getting the chance to play some tennis and having two top players here was an added bonus.”
The Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which continues until 3rd March, is owned and organised by Dubai Duty Free and held under the patronage of H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Tickets are on sale online and from the Box Office, which is open 9am -9pm daily. For ticket sales go to http://www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com/en/tickets For further information about the tournament visit www.dubaidutyfreetennischampionships.com.