Thirty 12-16 year olds have been selected from over 1,500 applicants to become the Barclays Ball Kids for 2013; where they will appear on court with the likes of Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and Roger Federer at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at The O2 in November 2013.
The final selection took place at Northwood Health & Racquets club in London at the weekend, where over 100 finalists took the stage for the Barclays Ball Kids National Trial, the culmination of 14 regional trials all over the UK.
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The programme is part of Barclays sponsorship of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and offers a unique opportunity for youngsters to gain a variety of life skills both on and off the court such as respect, reliability, determination, confidence and team work. The opportunity is open to all kids – regardless of their background or tennis ability.
All finalists were put through their paces in a high intensity six-hour trial which also saw them being tested on a range of athletic skills including agility, endurance, co-ordination, ball skills, balance and speed. Throughout the day, the kids also had the chance to pick up some top tips from Andy Murray’s former coach Mark Petchey, as well as former world number one Boris Becker.
Boris Becker said: “By the end of the day the selectors had some serious work to do to choose the best 30 Barclays Ball Kids. For those who have been selected it’s a great opportunity for them to get involved in the very best in tennis. Sport is about teamwork, about concentration, about having a goal and being a unit to reach that goal. The earlier you learn that the better it is for the rest of your life.”
David Wheldon, Barclays Managing Director of Brand, Reputation and Citizenship, said: “Over the last few years we have seen more than 5,000 kids come through the Barclays Ball Kids’ programme. Whilst I would like to congratulate the final 30, our ambition is to make sure that all those who have participated, even if for only one day, can take away benefits and skills. Next year as part of our Barclays Life Skills programme, which aims to help one million under 16s with developing employability skills by 2015, we hope to work with many more kids to help them with new skills whilst taking part in an experience they will never forget.”
The final 30 chosen by the Barclays Ball Kids Talent ID Team are: Adam Ashton, Asha Badiani, Oscar Bartlett, Jared Bones, Olivia Crowhurst, Kaine Dowden, Hannah Ferrett, Jack Hadley, Emma Hancock, George Hart, Alice Hill, Raia Jagger, Tijan Lambert, Henry Lidington, Joanna Minnis, Thomas Morris, Jose Pegorini, Daisy Phillips, Georgina Post, David Quayle, Eden Richardson, Jennifer Shaw, Olivia Sofroniou, Gemma Southwick, Alex Spencer, India Taylor, Joanna Tomlinson, Elliot Walker, Maxim Wallace, Maryam Williams