HA NOI — The Viet Nam Tennis Federation (VTF) is struggling to find sponsors to fund junior tennis training programmes this year, an official said yesterday.
It's been very tough for the federation to find businesses that are willing to help boost tennis in the country during the economic downturn.
The federation has benefited from a three-year deal struck with communications company Viet Nam Football Media.
However, the deal only covers the cost of the annual National Top Players Championships.
Last year, the federation also inked a one-year contract with British insurance giant Prudential as part of a programme that created an annual tournament for teenagers and chances to train aboard.
"It's a challenge for the federation to find sponsors for our training and competition programmes this year," said head of the tennis section at the National Sports Administration, Doan Quoc Cuong.
"We initially selected the top 16 players for prolonged training programmes both domestically and abroad this year, but it looks like they'll have to stay at home due to a lack of funding," he said.
He added that the tennis section receives only US$35,000 from the State budget each year, but the 16-member squad needs at least $400,000 to compete in international competitions.
Prudential started sponsoring the VTF in 2003 , but that deal has only been extended on an annual basis.
"The sponsorship funded long-term junior training programme over the past eight years. Top players on the national team are beneficiaries of the money provided by the Prudence Fund," Cuong said.
Le Nguyen Thuy Trang from the Central Highlands province of Dac Lac trained abroad with foreign coaches with help from the Prudence Fund from 2004-06 before joining a two-year course in the US.
Juniors Tran Nam Son and Nguyen Ngoc Minh have also been training at the Cornella International Centre in Spain since 2008.
Teenagers also benefited from the remainder of last year's Prudence Fund in international competitions early this year.
Last week, Trinh Linh Giang and Tran Hoang Thong bagged a bronze medal at the Asian U14 Team Championship in Qatar, while a squad of six are set to compete in the Davis Cup and Fed Cup for juniors in Malaysia from February 25-30.
"The federation's marketing section will look for more sponsors to help junior training programmes this year. It's a hard job, but we will try our best for the juniors," said Phan Thi Thu Ha, a VTF official. — VNS