Since the time when Bulat Utemuratov became the president of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation, this spectacular sport has entered a new level in the Republic. And we are talking not only about the success of professional tennis players – today, thanks to the Tennis Federation even schoolchildren play tennis in their physical education classes!
How it all began
The strategy of tennis development in the Republic was announced in 2007 and approved by the government. First of all, it was planned to build sports infrastructure facilities in various regions of Kazakhstan. The goal was successfully implemented – in ten years the number of courts has increased more than three times (currently there are about 200 tennis courts in the Republic). Modern centers correspond to the international standards and allow holding competitions of the highest level.
For 10 years, Mr. Utemuratov invested more than $60 million in personal funds in the development of Kazakhstan tennis, and also repeatedly attracted sponsorship funds. In addition, the Federation receives state funds – the money is allocated by the JSC National Welfare Foundation “Samruk Kazyna” (about 25% of the Federation budget).
Is tennis popular among children?
Bulat Utemuratov never concealed his desire to see the Republic as a tennis superpower. At the same time, he believes that the interest in sports should be taught from childhood, so he actively promotes the programs “Tennis 10 & under” and “School Tennis Initiative” (introduction of tennis in physical education classes in schools and kindergartens).
Both children and their parents accept such initiatives with enthusiasm – it is exactly thanks to the projects of the Federation the number of young tennis players has increased by 25%. Today only in Almaty 1400 people are engaged in tennis, and the total number of young tennis players of Kazakhstan reaches almost 6 thousand!
According to Bulat Utemuratov, the main goal of the Federation is to make tennis a mass sport. This will allow not only to educate their own champions, but also to make a huge number of children familiar with a healthy life style. The KTF regularly attracts foreign coaches to work with young athletes, invite tennis “stars” for delivering master classes, organizes photo and autograph sessions. And, who knows, may be pretty soon we will see Kazakhstan’s winner in a Grand Slam tournament!