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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - February 14, 2003




Tennis enthusiasts and the public will be treated to nearly a week of exciting activities when the City opens its new 20-court, world-class tennis complex at Central Oahu Regional Park on Saturday, February 15. The highlight will be the National Junior Tennis Championships slated from February 15 through 19.


The complex will officially open with a blessing ceremony at noon. The program will continue with remarks by Mayor Harris, members of the City Council and others. The coaches, staff and members of the Brigham Young University-Hawaii men’s and women’s tennis teams will be honored at that time. The teams scored a first when both became NCAA Division champions last year, and their coach, David T. Porter, was named Coach of the Year. Members of the team will participate in celebrity tennis matches that afternoon. Tiny Tadani will serve as master of ceremonies, and Meadow Gold has donated ice cream for the event.


The opening of the tennis complex is another milestone in the development of the 269-acre park - Oahu’s largest. The sprawling park has been designed to meet local residents’ need for a wide variety of recreation space and provide venues for a growing sports tourism industry.


Two of the 20 courts are show courts. The sunken clubhouse court has permanent terrace seating for 150 spectators and an area to accommodate temporary grandstand seating for 1,100 spectators. The other show court has the capacity for seating for 2,200 spectators and may be used for major exhibitions.


The other 18 hard courts each have center rest areas and seating for 50 spectators. The complex has two comfort stations, a registration pavilion, landscaping, walkways, picnic tables and benches. Parking is available for 305 vehicles.


“This tennis complex will serve the tens of thousands of local players of all ages,” said Mayor Jeremy Harris. “It’s something that we have needed for decades, and that will be heavily used for generations to come. As you can see from the Grand Opening schedule, it can host major national and international tennis events that bring revenue into our state while also serving as a recreational facility for our residents.”


Ron Romano, Executive Director for USTA’s Hawaii-Pacific Section, added, “This tennis complex offers our local resident a world-class facility where they can enjoy league play, tournaments or just have fun.”


The Grand Opening will begin with a dedication and blessing at noon Saturday. February 15. The ceremony will also honor the Brigham Young University (BYU)-Hawaii Men’s and Women’s Tennis Teams.


BYU became the first school in NCAA Division II history to win both the men and women’s tennis national championships. This occurred in Kansas City this past year. In addition, BYU Coach David T. Porter was named national coach of the year. Mayor Harris will recognize both the team and its coach for their achievements.


The new Tennis Complex will host the 2003 United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Junior Tennis Championships from Saturday, February 15, through Wednesday, February 19. About 125 junior players from 21 states and Canada will compete in this five-day tournament.


“We are excited to have Oahu host its first national tennis tournament, which will bring together the top junior competitors from the Mainland and Hawaii,” said Bernard J. Gusman, Punahou School’s Director of Tennis and the tournament’s director. “Events like this - and the new tennis complex - can only elevate tennis in Hawaii to a world-class level.”


On Monday, February 17, the tennis community has organized a series of professional tennis exhibitions, clinics, games and demonstrations. These events will be staged from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Participating tennis pros include Erik Sandblom, Mikael Maata, Erik Vervloet, Brendon Curry, Dengue Soonalole and Petra Gaspar. The Honolulu Tennis League, Interscholastic League of Honolulu, the Oahu Interscholastic Association and the World Team Tennis will also hold round robin tournaments. Equipment manufacturers Wilson, Yonex and Head will demonstrate their products and will offer free prizes.


Throughout the three-day Tennis Festival to celebrate the grand opening of the Tennis Complex, Pizza Hut, Time 2 Grind and Simply Ono will sell food items.


Waipahu Neighborhood Board member and Central Oahu Regional Park Advisory Committee Co-Chair Marty Burke expressed delight with the new tennis facility. “The community’s been behind the park since day one and really appreciates the support from the Mayor’s Team and the City Council, not to mention the hundreds of private citizens and volunteer and professional members of the various sports venues. The Department of Parks and Recreation and Oahu’s tennis community have done an absolutely superb job coming together to help build and launch an absolutely first-rate facility.”


Mayor Harris also announced that the University of Hawaii Wahine tennis team will play all its matches at the complex. The University of Hawaii-Hilo will be playing some of its matches there as will the Interscholastic League. Also, in May the State high school boys and girls tennis tournament will be played at the complex which will be first time in 14 years that these games will be held on Oahu.


A 20-lane archery range with each lane 300 feet long and 15 feet wide has also been completed as part of the complex.



Friday, February 14, 2003

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