Byline: Thendo Funyufunyu

Thursday, 09 March 2023

Keletso Manana, a 16-year-old young girl who is currently in grade 11, and her school mate, Simphiwe Sithebe, a 15-year-old young girl who is currently in grade 9, raised Thistle Grove Combined School’s flag by winning several medals and a trophy in most competitive tennis tournament across the province and international.

Keletso Manana is currently in possession of 17 medals and 7 trophies in her career, including her recent award last month, February 2023, at the Western Mpumalanga Tennis Tournament for position two (2). Whereas Simphiwe Sithebe is in possession of 11 medals and 3 trophies currently in her career.

Simphiwe Sithebe started developing a passion for tennis in the year 2018 and started participating in the Mpumalanga province tournament in the year 2019 when she was still in grade 5. 

That’s where she was awarded her first medal for position 6. 

Thereafter, she thrived and participated in the international championship 2022, where she was also awarded a silver medal for position 2. 

Currently, Simphiwe is in the inter-district Highveld Competition. 

She is in position number three (3).

She stated that in future she sees herself playing international tennis representing Mpumalanga province and she wishes to sign for the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and wishes to play first position in Mpumalanga this year during the summer tournament.

“I saw tennis as a unique sport as not everyone is involved in, and as for myself, I fell in love with tennis for the first time I held the racket,” said Simphiwe Sithebe.

Whereas Keletso Manana started playing tennis while she was still young in the year 2018 when she was still in grade 6, since then she has found out that she is one of the most talented women in sport, specifically tennis. In Mpumalanga province tournament she is currently in position number six (6) and in the District Highveld competition under 16 she bagged position number two (2).

She further stated that she sees herself in the next coming year applying for University of Cape Town (UCT) as she is anticipating that there are a lot of opportunities for sport where she can fulfil her dream and also participate in the Australian and US tournaments.

She stated further that she would like to see herself in the next coming tournament that will take place in Free State province in April, which is the national tennis tournament.

“At my young age, I had more passion for playing tennis because I wanted to show the world that tennis is not for white people only, our colour and nationality should not decide for us which sport we should play,” said Keletso Manana.

“The feeling is ecstatic to see our learning to raise our school flag both national and international. We are more than ready to support them anyway so that they can fulfil their dreams,” said Japie Masilela, a Thistle Grove Combined School Principal.

He further stated that they are looking forward in future to having proper infrastructure for all sporting codes so that learners can feel protected as they currently practice at Kinross Sasol club.