Free tennis racquets, balls flying everywhere and kids grinning from ear to ear - it was all happening when the ANZ Tennis Hot Shots Racquet Roadshow came to Parkes on Tuesday.
Over 120 racquets were gifted to students across four schools in the Parkes local area, including Holy Family Parish School, Parkes Public School, Parkes Christian School and Parkes East Public School.
Students from Parkes Christian School were also inspired by former professional tennis player - Tennis Australia ambassador John Fitzgerald - via Zoom as they received their brand new racquets and swung into action.
The Parkes Champion Post visited Parkes Public School on Tuesday morning, and it was just brilliant to see how much the children enjoyed and appreciated the free racquets and fun activities, led by the effervescent TennisNSW schools coordinator, Tanya Murdoch, and Parkes Tennis Centre coach Helen Magill.
Magill said it was an amazing initiative to be involved with, and with hardly any other Central West towns electing to participate it's clear how vital her relationship with Tennis Australia and TennisNSW is for Parkes.
"It's a privilege to be part of Tennis Australia's ANZ HotShots Racquet Roadshow," she said.
"To see the smiles on the faces of every kindergarten child in Parkes and give them the best first experience possible is reflective of the junior development pathways in place by the National body.
"Thank you to ANZ and Tennis Australia for making this possible and the NSW Sporting Schools initiative to enable the Kindergartens to receive professional coaching in their school environments," said Magill.
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Thanks to ANZ, the successful initiative will see 30,000 new racquets delivered to students in more than 700 primary schools across the country - which builds on the 170,000 racquets distributed across the country over the past five years.
A recent survey highlighted the desire for children to partake in sport and physical activity is particularly relevant, as nearly half of parents surveyed say they are concerned their families are not as fit when compared to the start of the pandemic.
It is hoped the program will also encourage Aussies to pick up tennis again, with three-quarters of those surveyed expressing an interest in either returning to the sport, or giving it a shot and Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said he loves seeing courts full of tennis players.
"The ANZ Tennis Hot Shots Racquet Roadshow has been an outstanding success and is a credit to our team involved in the 'Tennis in Schools' program and our longstanding partnership with ANZ," he said.
"Getting more kids involved in tennis is part of what we do every single day, and to be able to put racquets in the hands of 200,000 kids across the country is a tremendous milestone to celebrate.
"I look forward to seeing more courts across the country full of kids playing tennis with their friends and families," said Tiley.
If the very happy faces at Parkes Public School on Tuesday is any indication, courts will be full for years to come.
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