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AITA opens national academy

New Delhi: The All India Tennis Association (AITA) Wednesday announced the launch of its National Tennis Academy (NTA) at Gurgaon with the start of a tournament for the under-14 and under-18 boys and girls.

The academy is spread over five and half acres of barren land but pleasantly removed from the concrete jungle of Delhi.

Construction is still underway but there are already nine well-laid out clay courts and 20 trainess have been shortlisted for the first batch. Upon completion, the facility will have four more synthetic courts and would be home to more than 80 aspiring talents.

With library, swimming pool, gymnasium, playing area for other sports and academic facility in the nearby schools, the NTA seems to be dressed up as a residential training complex.

“We wanted to just get the academy started and did not want to wait for the full completion of the work,” said Anil Khanna, secretary general of AITA, while explaining the ‘soft launch’ of the NTA.

The academy is supported by the three leading sports good manufacturers while the AITA is also discussing with the Confederation of Indian Industry and certain corporate houses to sponsor its trainees, who currently have to shell out Rs 2.5 lakh per year.

“We are confident that it would be able to convince the companies to be at least part sponsors, funding two or three players at a time,” Khanna said.

First-batch trainees:

Boys: Somdev Dev Varman, Karan Rastogi, Rupesh Roy, Sanam K. Singh, Sumit Prakash Gupta, Kaushik Dass, Divij Sharan, Chatwinder Singh, Arnav Jain, Agnel Gladwin, Chandan Shaolin.

Girls: Isha Lakhani, Megha Vakharia, G.K. Shwetha, E. Ashmita, Daksha Mulay, V. Pooja Shri, Ankita Bhambri, Sanaa Bhambri, Kartiki Bhat, Sandhya Nagaraj.

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