South African Airways recently demonstrated a commendable corporate social responsibility initiative by sponsoring two young tennis players and their coach to participate in a two weeks intensive training session in Florida, USA.
The airline which has won the SkyTrax Travel award as the best airline in Africa for 14th consecutive years provided a free Accra-Washington ticket for the two young girls and their coach to realize an unbelievable dream of training in the United States.
Speaking on the gesture, Ohis Ehimiaghe, South African Airways regional manager, North, West and Central Africa described the airline’s initiative as part of the broader corporate social responsibility strategy of South African Airways in developing human capacity.
“At South African Airways, we are passionate not only about bridging the gap between Africa travels and the rest of the world, that is bringing the world to Africa and taking Africa to the world, but we take pride in harnessing and developing human capacity from all walks of life to reach their full potential,” said Ehimiaghe.
He added, “We are interested in supporting and encouraging local raw talents to develop into future champions which is part of our social corporate responsibility. Tennis is a very popular and matured sporting activity in Nigeria and it is interesting to note that kids are getting involve in the game and growing to love the sport. It is also a very good opportunity to promote our Accra to Washington flight direct from West Africa as SAA would have otherwise had to fly via Johannesburg to Washington. The SAA Accra direct to Washington flight started operating effective 2nd August 2015.”
The tennis youngsters, Venus Ubiebi and Toyin Asogba both 15 and 14 years old respectively were full of gratitude to South African Airways for realising their dream of participating in a world class training in the United States.
Both players who once represented Nigeria at the International Tennis Federation under-14 tournament in Togo in 2015 described the South African Airways Accra-Washington flight as very smooth with incredible food and in-flight entertainment.
Ubiebi and Asogba explained, “It was our very first international flight. Aside the joy that South African Airways is helping us realize our tennis dream, we enjoyed very good food on board as we watch movies all through the flight.”
The coach of Aces Tennis Academy where the youngsters were discovered, Abel Ubiebi praised South African Airways for providing a rare platform to develop budding tennis talent.
Coach Ubiebi believes the two weeks training in Florida which boast of world class facilities will develop the tennis skills of the youngsters which in the next possible five years will see Nigeria compete for tennis gram slams across the world.
“What South African Airways has done is incredible. My dream is to produce world class tennis champions for Nigeria someday soon and South African Airways through the sponsorship of our participation in the US training have given quantum boost to that dream of young Nigerians surpassing the records of Serena Williams someday,” stated the very elated coach.