Hundreds of students flock to tennis promotion

Updated: 2011-09-15 07:51

By Sun Xiaochen (China Daily)

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BEIJING - Lots of people get scholarships to play tennis.

But a scholarship for listening to someone talk about it?

Collegiate tennis diehards gathered during the Mid-Autumn Festival at the 2011 "Swing for the Stars" university tennis promotion campaign last weekend at Tsinghua University.

The seventh leg of the 10-city nationwide tour, the Beijing event kicked off on Sept 9 with a lecture on the development of the tennis industry, which attracted 200 college students from Tsinghua University.

Sports promoter Tom McCarthy, whose Beijing International Group (BIG) operated the event, talked about sports marketing with the students before showcasing his personal collection, including Li Na's French Open triumph shirt and a Boston Celtics 2008 NBA championship ring.

At the end of the lecture, 10 students received scholarships worth 1,000 yuan ($155) for their dedication to school and tennis.

"We hope (the scholarship) will inspire them to invest in the sports industry - especially tennis - in the future, and motivate them to study harder," McCarthy said after the presentation.

The three-day gala event came to a climax after the Beijing university tennis tournament swung off on Saturday morning.

Eight local squads played head to head in the team competition on Tsinghua's outdoor court for a national final berth next month in Nanjing. The Beijing University of Chemical Technology stunned the host in the final to claim the title, while China University of Geosciences finished third.

Courtside, a series of tennis-related activities drew hundreds of students.

Since the program was launched by the Chinese Tennis Association and its sponsor, Mercedes-Benz, in 2008, it has hosted 95,000 university students and triggered an increase in grassroots interest for the sport, according to the organizers.

China Daily