Log In

Reset Password

Hundreds of children test out racket sports with Nspire Bermuda

First Prev 1 2 3 Next Last
Looking up: Gavin Manders and Owen Darrell, the Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Sport, join the excited children in looking up at a drone at WER Joell Tennis Stadium (Photograph supplied)

More than 400 schoolchildren filled WER Joell Tennis Stadium this week to play tennis and pickleball as part of the official launch of Nspire Bermuda

Drawn from primary schools from all over the island, the aspiring tennis and pickleball stars received mentorship from some of Bermuda’s top junior coaches at the two-day racket sports extravaganza thanks to the charity founded by Gavin Manders, one of the island’s former Davis Cup players.

Sarah Jane Collins, David Lambert, Jacky Lambert, Cayla Cross, Romar Douglas, Evan Heyliger, Neal Towlson, Benjamin Jones, Tariq Simons, Scott Redman, Sarah Fellows, Caitlyn Conyers and Denzel Hollis were among thos to give up their time.

“We had 275 children for tennis and 220 for pickleball,’’ Manders said.

“We had a great time on both days with children from primary schools across the entire island. We had professional players from all over the island that have been helping us over the two days.

“The turnout for this event is a phenomenal success and it’s all because of a great team that we had delivering it.”

Manders was thrilled with the experience and outlined what he hopes his charity can achieve.

“It was an opportunity for all the children to learn the sport, learn a little bit of the skills within it, and then play the sport with all the different schools across the island,’’ he said.

Gavin Manders with coaches and teachers at the Inspire Bermuda rackets extravaganza (Photograph by Mehluli Sibanda)

“The point of it was to get an opportunity to come out and meet a lot of different people that they might not get an opportunity to meet.

“We’re hoping that we’ll identify talent as Nspire Bermuda, in our first three months of being a charity, we've taught more than 600 children in the schools.”

Manders is now looking to the corporate world to come on board and help his charity extend its reach.

“It’s just the start of what we hope to do with the community,’’ he said.

“We hope that corporate Bermuda comes on board to help events like this and help create a sustainable framework to truly make a difference using racket sports.

“As of now, we’re joining tennis and pickleball together with a holistic developmental approach, including mindfulness, educational and clear pathways within the sports.

“We’re looking at empowering women within racket sports and also connecting with the community clubs to bring developmental options to their programme.

“CariGenetics are one of our main sponsors because they do DNA testing and gut testing, which is all about understanding your body.

WER Joell Tennis Stadium was a hive of activity for the Nspire Bermuda Racquets Extravaganza (Photograph supplied)

“We’re teaching children to be more healthy and CariGenetics are a great example of how we can partner with somebody to bring that side to it.

“Our other sponsors were BGA, Undercover Tents, Castle Masters, and Boyle's Sports Locker.”

Owen Darrell, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, took time to support the event and was impressed by the approach adopted by Manders.

“It’s really interesting how he did it,” Darrell said.

“How he did tennis one day and how he did pickleball the other day to show that there’s no rivalry between the two and that we have two racket sports that are popular in Bermuda.

“I’m so happy for WER Joell Tennis Stadium, a facility where we’re now able to accommodate tennis and pickleball.

“To see so many youngsters that are not involved in the debate if one sport is better than the other is really great.

“This bodes well for what we’re doing at the Department of Sport and Recreation. One of our policy goals is to increase sports participation in Bermuda and this is an example of exactly those policy goals in action.”

Carika Weldon, founder and chief executive officer of CariGenetics , spoke of the fun had over the two days.

“We did not just come in as official sponsors but we decided to join forces with Nspire Bermuda to have a colouring station for the children to add to their events of the day,’’ she said.

“We also launched our fitness DNA test, called Fitness4You and we’re going to be working with Nspire to help young elite athletes to use that test to improve their performance.

“We don’t do children’s events as much, so we’re really grateful to have been a part of this. You could see the excitement that they had working with science and colouring at an event like this.”

Simons, who is heading to Paraguay to represent Bermuda in the Davis Cup, was delighted to take part.

“It was a fantastic event to start us off as Nspire,’’ Simons said.

“We’re making racket sports more accessible to public schools from a young age. More than 50 per cent of these children I've taught them tennis and pickleball in their school PE classes, and it’s nice to see them all where I spend more of my days developing tennis players. Hopefully, I’ll see more of these faces more often.”

Tiffany Swainson, a teacher from Chatmore British International School, brought 23 children from her school over the two days and felt it was as an excellent opportunity for the youngsters to learn.

“We think this is a wonderful opportunity for all schools, public and private,’’ Swainson said.

“We’re delighted to be a part of this. Gavin and his team put on amazing events and we look forward to being a part of this as well.

“This was a great event for tennis and pickleball. It started off in the morning and they got to do different sets of drills and work with different schools.

“This took the children out of their comfort zone with their own classmates, and allowed them to have a social networking opportunity as well.”

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published June 14, 2024 at 7:59 am (Updated June 13, 2024 at 12:19 pm)

Hundreds of children test out racket sports with Nspire Bermuda

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon