Mohamed Ismath, President of Tennis Manitoba, has been named Chair for Tennis Canada’s Council of Provinces (COP). He started the position May 13.

“All the provincial presidents are part of the COP,” said Ismath. “My responsibilities are trying to coordinate the strategic planning, then from the strategic planning what the business plans look like for the year. If any of the provincial organizations have concerns policy-wise or development-wise then I will get involved with the board of directors of Tennis Canada.”

Over five million Canadians play tennis.

“We want to be among the leading nations of tennis,” Ismath said. “The mission is to make sure we grow tennis. The past five years we have worked collectively really well with the national organization board and shown some improvements so hopefully it will become better.”

Ismath has been involved with Tennis Manitoba for about nine years: he’s been the president the past two years, having previously served as treasurer and a member of the executive committee.

“My involvement with a smaller province like Manitoba has given me a voice at the table and that can bring more improvements,” said Ismath. “But whether it’s a small or big province our policy is to make sure the growth is there and get a little more funding for the provinces.”

Ismath took up tennis as a youngster in Sri Lanka

“When I was younger I used to play tennis back home at my primary school,” said Ismath, who moved from Sri Lanka to Winnipeg in 1987. “Then I didn’t play for a long period of time. When my kids were playing tennis in our province I used to take them to the (Winnipeg) Winter Club and Taylor (Tennis Club), so all the sudden I decided I should play a little more tennis and then I got involved.”

His son Muzeen played four years of college tennis at Gonzaga University, while his daughter Shereen competed at junior nationals and the Canada Summer Games.

“Tennis has benefited me, my family and my community,” said Ismath, who was President of Folk Arts Council of Winnipeg (Folklorama) from 2010-12.