Home » Sports » Tariro Dembo – Star in the Making

SINCE being hooked to tennis, Tariro Tasha Dembo has received several accolades at Zimbabwe’s premier tournaments and feels the time has come for her to take the game to the next level. Ranked third in the Zimbabwe Under-18 category and having tested victory over players who are above her in the country’s rankings, she feels the time has come for her to up her game and compete in the International Tennis Federation tournaments.

Tariro has been invited to several international tournaments and invitational games but has failed to participate in these tournaments due to financial challenges.

Another tournament is beckoning for a summer camp and she is afraid of missing out again.

The 17-year-old Mbare-based Form 4 pupil speaks passionately about her love for tennis but the thought of failing to travel makes her feel dejected.

“I have participated in various tournaments across Zimbabwe and won most of them overcoming some players seeded higher than me. I have a feeling I should take my game to another level,” she said.

Tariro has participated and won such tournaments as the New Winners, Harare Open, Harare Closed, Zimbabwe Open and Astra Paints tournaments.

“I cherish all my triumphs at the various tournaments but I believe among the best of them all is the win in Super 8 where the top eight players across the country fight for honours. I have won this tournament and I am happy of that achievement,” she said.

Born on January 9, 1997, Tariro started playing tennis in 2006.

“I have always loved the sport and I am happy I have had the opportunity to play across the country and received recognition to play outside Zimbabwe. So far I have played at invitational tournaments in South Africa and Botswana while I missed out on several other tournaments where I believe I could have made a mark while improving my game.”

She has so far received invitation for training and participating in tournaments in countries such as Burundi, Egypt, Namibia, Kenya and Spain.

“I have been selected to play in some of these tournaments but unfortunately failed to travel and sometimes I have other players replace me because I would have failed to travel due to financial constraints,” she said.

Her mother, Memory, also echoed the same sentiments, indicating how difficult it was for her to foot some of the associated bills.

“When she goes for a local tournament I have to pay for everything from accommodation, meals and even the track suits she would be wearing while representing the country,” she said.

Memory said she would need at least US$1 500 for her daughter if she has to play in a tournament in South Africa.

“Tariro needs at least US$90 for a tournament in Harare and when she is playing outside town like she would be travelling to Mutare for two tournaments and each would need at least US$400 during her stay there.

“She is so passionate at her sport and has the talent to achieve more in her career but as we continue to face such financial constraints all the dreams she has could die a natural death,” she said.

Tariro has set her sights at the forthcoming ITF tournament set for Harare Sports Club next month.

“I am confident I am going to do well in the tournament and more invitations could come my way but I am afraid of failing to travel again because of the finances involved.

“I hope some of the companies could assist and sponsor me to realise my dream,” she said.

After next month’s ITF tournament, Tariro will travel to Mutare for the Mutare Open and the Dunlop and Brooks tournaments before taking part in the Harare and Zimbabwe Open tournaments.

“I want to play more tournaments and compete on the ITF circuit but the issue of funding seriously affects me. I am currently ranked third in Zimbabwe but I am pretty sure I can beat the other top players in the country.”

One of Tariro’s major victory was when she upset top seed Zarah Finnigan 6-4, 0-6, 6-3 to win the New Winners title early this year after taking a break from the game to pursue her studies last year.

She, however, takes time to coach aspiring tennis players in her neighbourhood, coaching at Ardbernie Primary School and the Remangwana reAfrica Tennis Club.

“I know I have a dream and that dream is to one day play at the Wimbledon and US Open championships and be the pride of my country,” she said confidently.

Is Zimbabwe set to unleash another Cara Black or it is just yet another dream that is going to die for lack of sponsorship?

Source : The Herald