Mmegi Online :: Raguin gives hope to future tennis stars
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Last Updated
Wednesday 12 December 2018, 15:06 pm.
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Raguin gives hope to future tennis stars

FRANCISTOWN: Frenchman, Dominique Raguin has blown a breath of hope on the future of local tennis with the establishment of the Francistown School of Tennis. The school aims to deliver in the long term, a tennis professional of note through apt development.
By Koketso Kgoboge Mpho Tshwaane Fri 09 Dec 2016, 14:46 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Raguin gives hope to future tennis stars








Raguin came to Botswana to marry his sweetheart Segametsi in 2004 after meeting her while they were students at National Institute of Oriental languages in Paris, France.

After they married, they went back abroad to further their studies and returned to the country three years later.

They stayed in Gaborone for three years before they moved and settled here in 2010. Raguin said his experiences with local children in his first year were an eyesore and their experiences inspired the idea of a sporting facility.

He said he figured out that lack of entertainment was negatively affecting the children who resorted to all sorts of mischief in the parks and he wanted to bring change that will save innocent souls.

“In our weekly visits to the local parks we found children doing all kinds of mischief. They drank alcohol, smoked glue, cigarettes and marijuana, wasting their lives every weekend and from constant interactions we figured they lacked proper entertainment facilities,” he said.

He said the situation was touching with children who had no opportunities and were doomed before they could start anything.

He said having been through a rigorous sporting development himself at a tender age, he instantly thought of a sporting facility to offer the children a platform to play, keep fit and get what they deserve in life. “I believe that with a proper development every child has equal opportunities regardless of their background or where they come from in the planet and the idea was to offer them that same opportunity as other children in developed countries,” he added. Following an agreement with Francistown club, Raguin leased the dilapidated tennis section at the club, which had been abandoned for over four years and he refurbished the buildings and the tennis courts.

Within a year, the self-sponsored tennis school was set up and in full swing and it has since been growing and it is the biggest tennis infrastructure in the northern part of the country.

The school currently has over 50 children in fulltime training programme, 30 pre-school children at introduction to tennis programme, 25 children from SOS village in Francistown who visit ones every weekend for training and recently introduced lessons for adults and corporates.

Ever since the school was opened in 2012, it has changed the level of play for young children and the potential of tennis in the country.

The tennis school is the first in the country to successfully implement the play and stay programme - a structured system recommended by International Tennis Federation (ITF) for tennis development schools.

Francistown School of

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Tennis young players have dominated the local junior tennis tournaments and have competed and won regional medals in junior competitions in Zimbabwe and South Africa in the under 6s, 8s, 10s and 12s.

With the promising potential, the school has roped in an internationally qualified coach Yann Grizaud who has over 30 years of experience in tennis development and has developed World Tennis Association (WTA) ranked stars.

Grizaud joined two other fulltime local coaches who will be his understudies.

Raguin sees the arrival of Grizaud as a first step towards developing a fully-fledged tennis professional.

“You need an all-round professional set up to develop a professional, hence we have brought in a coach of Yann’s calibre to help identify and develop talent at a very young age and to also help develop our coaches for the future as well,” he said.

Raguin himself is a qualified sporting professional. He first graduated with Bachelors Degree in Mathematics but his undying love for sport and children development drove him to study for a first-degree bachelor’s in Physical Education and afterwards did a course component in masters in high performance training.

Sport has been in his DNA since he was born some 40 years ago in Bouhans Les Montbozon a small settlement east of France.

At two years old his father who founded a Kayaking school in the settlement introduced him to the watersport. He started competing at four and was a regional Kayak champion since then until he was 10 years old.

At 10 he went to a boarding school in Besancon City, where his sporting time was consumed by his music studies and could not train on his Kayak anymore. When he returned to Kayak he was beaten to his first position and decided to change sport.

He tried his luck at road cycling and circuit cycling, inspired by the Under-16 and 18 French champions who came from the same region as his.

His cycling career was short-lived after being hit by a car on the road while on a time trial.

Raguin grew up in a very competitive sporting environment and in his sporting career he also played European handball where he participated in French championships.

Raguin said having grown up in a small settlement with very few people he feels more at home at masimo.

“I am married in Nshakashogwe to a Kalanga woman, ‘ke mokalaka o mosweu from Nshagashogwe’. I enjoy my spare time at masimo with my heard of cattle and I also enjoy catching mophane worms with my family during the phane season,” he chuckled.

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