By Tennis Canada

Located about 120 kilometres south of Winnipeg, the small community of Morden, Manitoba is home to three outdoor tennis courts. Thanks to Building Tennis Communities (BTC) champion Joaquin Mota, those courts are being put to good use introducing more of the town’s approximately 7,000 residents to the sport.

New to the BTC family as of November 2012, Mota has made great strides. His first task was to simply let people know tennis was available in Morden, which he did through ‘tennis try’ events, including at the town’s block party and at different church events. Now a year into the BTC program, Mota is happy to be involved and focused on his main goals.

“It’s going well so far,” Mota said while attending the 2013 BTC Conference in Toronto last month. “Our vision is to really work on developing a tennis population, but right now, my idea is to really make this available for all the kids – the girls, the boys, and the people with disabilities, so they can enjoy tennis and play tennis for life.”

A tennis fan who moved to Morden five years ago from Mexico City, Mota says he saw the potential of the town’s three tennis courts and wanted to make a difference. While perusing Tennis Canada’s website, he came across the BTC strategy, which provides financial and educational assistance to ‘community champions’ who work on developing quality tennis programming in their own communities.

Mota is now looking ahead at what needs to be done to ensure the continual growth of tennis in Morden and realize his vision, including making the sport available through the cold winter months that lay ahead.

“I think the next step would be a winter program inside the gym and getting more people involved,” Mota said. “And then, moving from only having the BTC support to making a Morden tennis association and developing someone else to take over later on and make it more sustainable as well. Because we are a small community, I think we have more chances to grow because people get more involved and they know each other. So those are my big next steps, but right now I want to concentrate on the winter program to make it great.”

Mota already has about 24 kids interested in the winter program, which will take place in the middle school’s gymnasium.

The future looks bright for the tennis community in Morden, and for Mota, just being able to do his part in offering the sport to the people in his town has been the biggest highlight of his still relatively new experience with the BTC program.

“I think being out there with the community and being able to propose another option of sport to the community is the main achievement so far,” he said. “To the kids who aren’t getting into hockey or the other activities, for them to know this is an option for them to participate in sport – I’m very proud of that.”

For more information about the BTC program and how to join Mota in growing the game of tennis across Canada, please click here.