Le padel still remains a very largely unknown sport on the African continent and particularly in Senegal where football and wrestling are king. But that could soon change thanks to the initiatives of the association “Tennis Padel without limits“, Which works for the development of sport among young people.
Padel Magazine was able to speak with Philippe Apack, who carries this project with enthusiasm.
“I discovered the padel in Senegal"
Padel Magazine : Can you introduce yourself and tell us about your story with the padel ?
Philippe Apack : “I am Franco-Senegalese and I have been traveling between the two countries for more than 25 years. I lived there for more than fifteen years and know the local customs and customs perfectly. ”
“Occasional tennis player at the base, I discovered the padel in Senegal, more precisely at the Saly club (seaside resort located 70 km south of Dakar), the first in the country to open its doors six years ago. I immediately hooked and I am not the only one, proof of this are the three other clubs which opened in the wake and who meet a great success with the expatriate population. "
“95% of padel are expatriates ”
Padel Magazine : What prompted you to set up the association? What are your ambitions ?
Philippe Apack : “This winter, during a stay of several months in Aix en Provence, I joined the municipal club of padel from the Aix Université Club where I got to know two tennis teachers, Mathias and Thibault, who are also creators of the Tennis Without Borders association. They notably organized charitable actions in South America and Senegal. We were on the same page and shared a vision of sport that would be accessible to all and for all. "
“In Senegal, for example, 95% of padel are expatriates, the local population not having the financial means to be able to afford subscriptions and equipment suitable for practice. It seems terribly unfair, and so I matured the project of an adapted structure in which I could invest myself and which would change the situation. From there started the establishment of Tennis Padel without limits."
“Our ambition is of course to create an academy that will primarily serve African youth, and if our project appeals to as many people as possible, there is also padel in Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt, where Tennis Padel without borders could intervene. ”
Popularize the practice of Padel in Africa
Padel Magazine : What are your goals for 2021?
Philippe Apack : “Our aim is to popularize the practice of Padel in Africa and more precisely in Senegal initially, by allowing young aspiring athletes but lacking the means to be able to access clubs (all private) and various equipment. ”
“Our program is simple. Find funding and donors who could support us, and allow as many destitute Senegalese children as possible to have access to lessons, training, with adequate equipment: snowshoes, shoes, clothing, etc. ”
“To do this, I approached the N'gaparou club and its owner, Pascal. Delighted with the idea and 100% on our side, he is the first to have allowed two young locals to train for free his home. They are now making sparks at national tournaments and are a success story for young people to follow. ”
"The padel still remains a totally anecdotal sport in the Senegalese sporting landscape. The other clubs will follow suit if they want to. ”
“We will not forget the girls, too often confined from an early age to household and family chores. It is a problem cultural and religious and we will try to find solutions to make families understand the usefulness of letting girls play sports. It will take a little while but we are not lacking in patience and energy. ”
“We are going to have a year 2021 full of projects and great moments of sharing. According to the means that the association will have, we hope that at least thirty young people will be able to start learning about padel. We can always catch ourselves dreaming, can't we !? ”
With padel we hope to give them hope for the future
Padel Magazine : At the moment, how many clubs are there? padel in Senegal ? How does this translate in terms of practitioners?
Philippe Apack : “There are three clubs all private in the Saly area, plus one in Dakar:
- Padel N'gaparou
- Padel Saly
- La Palmeraie sporting club (Editor's note: Club winner of the first edition of the Intercontinental Cup Padel in 2019)
- The Olympic sport (Dakar) ”
"For the moment the number of practitioners from all clubs must not exceed two hundred members, but this number should explode when the Senegalese have access to the courses. Their motivation, combined with their astonishing physical capacities, should put on good performances in international competitions in the coming years. ”
“On the other hand, our foals will have an obligation to respect. As long as their agreement with our association lasts, they must remain at school and do everything to have a good average and think about going to higher education. Here, young people drop out of school very early for lack of prospects or means. With the padel we hope to give them hope for the future, to make them practice a healthy and fun activity while making them understand the importance of studying. In this regard, here too we will try to support them with the necessary means. ”
If tennis is a sport that drives you mad, then multiply that madness by 2 and you will get the padel.
An expatriate in Malaga, passionate about sports and photography, Malick immediately fell for the padel. If you can't find him on a short working his “bandeja”, He will probably be hiking, GoPro in hand.