My Story: Kristin Aweeda from the ITC – Galilee-Sajur
Kristin Aweeda, 14 years old, from the ITC – Galilee-Sajur has become the first Druze player to compete in a tournament outside of the Center in Sajur. In December 2011, Kristin played in the Prince Tournament held at the ITC – Haifa, where she reached the quarterfinal.
Kristin on the court
110 Druze players, which include 40 girls, currently train at the ITC – Galilee-Sajur, with Kristin being the first to take the next step and compete in bigger tournaments. It happened after her coach and interim manager of the Center, Benjamin Adam, turned to her parents and told them she is ready to compete in regional tournaments and not only in internal ones at the Center.
Kristin’s parents, who are very invested in her progress, were very happy to hear the news and announced that they would take her to the Prince Tournament at the ITC – Haifa. Kristin topped her group in the round robin phase (in the 14 to 18 girls’ category), a week later she won her second round match and in the quarterfinal, she lost against an older opponent. It was a great achievement considering it was her first ever tournament.
Kristin was born in Sajur, she trains twice a week for a total of four hours in the Achievement Co-Existence Program, where she plays with Druze, Muslim and Jewish children. She loves sports, especially football and she started playing tennis when she was 12 years old. “When I was in first grade I did Karate and after that I did Kung Fu for two years in Karmiel”, she says. “When I was in sixth grade, I was playing in a boys’ football team and at the same time I started watching tennis matches on television. It was at that time that the ITC in Sajur was inaugurated so in April 2011, I signed up”.
Aside from her practice hours, Kristin comes to the Center to hit against the wall and train against other players. The Center allows her to come for extra training hours to help her improve. Kristin’s favorite male player is Spain’s Rafael Nadal and Kim Clijsters from Belgium is her favorite on the women’s tour – two stars which have reached the top of the game. “I want to be a talented tennis player and I strive to be number one in the world. Tennis is very important to me as it allows me to bring out the best in myself. When I play I enjoy myself and I am proud of myself, because I am slowly slowly fulfilling my ambitions and my dreams in tennis”.
Kristin’s mother, Ilanit, is a teacher in Sajur and was so proud of her daughter, as the whole school was talking about her success in the tournament: “The teachers congratulated me, but they weren’t surprised as they know Kristin is very good at sports and at school. She has a huge willpower and high self-confidence, especially in sports. When she was told she was the first Druze to compete in a tournament outside of the Center, she was very happy. Kristin was proud to reach the quarterfinal, but she knows that she can do better. She wants to be a successful tennis player whilst still excelling in her studies and we will encourage her all the way!”
Benjamin Adam:” Kristin proves to everyone at our Center that those who want to move forward and succeed in tennis have to invest a lot of time and effort. As her coach, I am so proud of her and she brought so much hope to all the Druze girls who want to succeed in tennis”.
Kristin: “The ITC – Galilee-Sajur is a place that has helped me fulfill my dreams, especially as a girl from Druze origins. I really love the center; I receive a structured framework, different activities, guidance and encouragement to succeed. I have an amazing coach, that supports me and that creates a warm and fun environment. When I play tennis, I forget about all my problems, I enter a calm world, with the energy and will to succeed. If there wasn’t the tennis center in my village, I wouldn’t know where I could chase my dreams”.
About The Israel Tennis Centers Foundation (“ITC”):
The ITC is a non-profit organization (formerly known as The Israel Children’s Centers is a 501 (c)) that works to enhance the social, psychological and physical development of Israeli children through the medium of sport. We provide a healthy and structured environment for children from all walks of life, teaching values of cooperation, persistence and tolerance. Thirty-five years after the inauguration of the first Israel Tennis Center in Ramat Hasharon, the ITC has expanded throughout Israel and has nurtured and empowered more children and adults than the original founders could have ever dreamed. Currently one of the largest social-service agencies for children in Israel, the ITC operates 14 Centers throughout Israel’s periphery within socio-economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. The Centers are complete with cutting edge facilities and tennis courts that serve over 20,000 children. For additional background please visit: http://www.israeltenniscenters.org