Guam – Guam’s Torgun Smith, one of four newly elected Oceania Tennis Federation Executive Committee members, plans to work in his new capacity to find ways to bolster participation in youth tennis, as well as provide opportunities to develop tennis officials.
“We have in the past been with the OTF junior program on a limited basis because of limited funding,” Smith said. “We have agreed … to shift the focus to more sub-regional sponsorship rather than a sponsor for the entire OTF region. My goal will be to attempt to find funding for the north region of the OTF to introduce tennis into the elementary schools.
“I have always had the dream to bring tennis out of the ‘country club’ and give opportunities to more kids. I plan to find support from some in the business community to introduce tennis to kids who may have never had the opportunity,” he added.
Smith, nominated by the Guam National Tennis Federation, received 13 out of 14 votes to earn his post in the OTF Executive Committee during the OTF Annual General Meeting Jan. 16 in Melbourne, Australia. He joins Tonga’s Neil Adsett, New Zealand’s Steve Johns and Tahiti’s Wilfred Sacault in the committee.
Also elected during the Jan. 16 meeting was new OTF President Steve Healy, current president of Tennis Australia, replacing Geoff Pollard, who had held the presidency since 1993. Pollard is a past president of Tennis Australia and currently is one of three vice presidents of the International Tennis Federation, a position he held since 1999, according to the ITF Web site.
Vanuatu’s Cyrille Mainguy, captain of Pacific Oceania’s Davis Cup team and a former OTF Executive Committee member, was voted in as OTF Vice President, replacing Samoa’s Waikaremoana So’onalole. So’onalole vacated his position to run for OTF president. Joint General Secretaries are Sebastien Baldovini of New Caledonia, who returns to his post, and Dan O’Connell of Fiji, who replaces Fiji’s John Shannon.
“The biggest focus of the OTF is the development of the junior player,” Smith said. “We have the regional training center in Fiji that is focused on improving the development of elite players, and we also have the U10 programs that we want to push in all OTF countries to introduce as many kids as possible to the sport.
“I have added the development of officials to the OTF agenda. (Guam’s) Swami is an excellent example of how we in the Pacific can reach the highest level in tennis through officiating,” Smith added. Guam’s Swami was invited to be a linesman at the recently concluded 2013 Australian Open.
Smith is an owner/partner of Tennis Academy of Guam and a certified tennis professional with the Professional Tennis Registry. He is the tournament director for the 2013 Guam Futures set for June and has been a board member, treasurer and president of the GNTF. He also accompanied the Pacific Oceania Davis Cup team as team manager in 2012.
Article from a press release.