A very special tennis tournament was served up last
Saturday afternoon – a diplomatic tennis match with three representatives
from the different consulates in Chiang Mai, together with Governor Suwat
Tantipat, in a ‘ferocious’ doubles competition, all in the name of a
Consulate representative Tom Le Doux serving, while Chiang Mai’s Governor
Suwat prepares himself for the return.
That cause was ‘Tennis is my dream’, a project
helping underprivileged children acquire healthy recreational skills and
habits, which has been the beneficiary of donations from groups and
individuals both in Thailand and abroad. Recently, 14 girls from Viengping
Children’s Home and six boys from Baan Dek Chai were the lucky recipients
of 20 hours of tennis instruction at the 700 Year Anniversary Complex. While
greatly appreciated by the children, who had all levels of skill, all this
has to be paid for and even with sponsorship from individuals, a mixed
tennis clinic costs 4000 baht for 20 hours, not counting the voluntary work
of coaches, trainers, and people who have fun in sharing their tennis
expertise with underprivileged children.
Hon. Consul Hagen Dirksen teamed up with the Japanese Consul General
The diplomatic tennis tournament aimed to raise funds by
charging entrance fees of 100 baht per person offering tennis, some fun and
good company. Players included Chiang Mai Governor Suwat Tantipat, Consul
General of Japan, Katsuhiro Shinohara; Honorary Consul of Germany, Hagen
Dirksen, and Tom LeDoux as the American Consulate representative.
Davis Cup player Suparat Chookuan with a powerful serve.
Governor Suwat and Tom LeDoux had an incredible run, with
big serves by the governor but Hagen Dirksen could return just as hard.
Shinohara-san showed expertise on the highflying balls that were sometimes
Despite the on-court action, the most dangerous position
was that of Umpire whose rather unexpected decisions were immediately
overruled by the players and the spectators. Enjoyable for everybody, and it
ended almost too soon.
Dirksen returning, while Katsuhiro Shinohara seems to be very impressed.
After the not-so-serious matches, there were some tennis
coaching demonstrations and a junior singles match between Aom (16) and her
friend ‘Nok’ the 12 year old northern champion in the Under 16 age group
who has been trained for five years by a foreign resident who saw her
potential when she was very young. Nok is now in Bangkok to represent Chiang
Mai in the Junior Masters tournament.
little helpers from Baan Dek Chai also enjoyed the great tennis matches.
Another attraction was a men’s doubles match between
Suparat Chookuan, a former member of the Thai Davis Cup and Khun Tara
against Khun Udomsak and Khun Piroon.
The gate takings all will help the ‘Tennis is my
dream’ project run more tennis clinics for orphans and needy children.
Children in institutions have their basic needs for shelter, food, and
state-mandated education met, but they have few opportunities for sports or
other life-enriching experiences.
If you would like to be a part of ‘Tennis is my dream’, as a
volunteer coach, as a board member or as a supporter, please contact Frank
Weicks President Elect of Rotary Club Chiangmai West, email
director Frank Weicks (left) received a little help from four year old Sam
during the lucky draws.
Governor Suwat made a point, and nobody argued.
audience was fascinated by skills of the players.
organizers and participants of the fun event.
thanks went out to all VIPs, organizers, and ball girls.