Connect with us

Lifestyle

New era for tennis in Kazakhstan as juniors reach international level

Published

on

Amir Omarkhanov is first Kazakh player to ever reach the Australian Open Junior Championship quarterfinals
Amir Omarkhanov is first Kazakh player to ever reach the Australian Open Junior Championship quarterfinals

Elena Rybakina’s victory at Wimbledon in 2022 was a milestone for tennis in Kazakhstan. Her success caused a mixed reaction, however, raising questions among many observers.

Where were all the tennis players who had been developed in Kazakhstan? Would any of the juniors trained at tennis centres across the country be able to play for national teams, and did Kazakhstan even have a pool of homegrown talent?

To answer these questions, you just need to look at the world rankings. Ten Kazakhstanis finished the 2023 season in the top 100. While some of the players that compete for Kazakhstan in the professional rankings were born elsewhere, all the players in the junior rankings were born and trained in Kazakhstan. Amir Omarkhanov, who in 2024 became the first Kazakh player to ever reach the Australian Open Junior Championship quarterfinals, is ranked 16th in the ITF junior rankings, and Asylzhan Arystanbekova, who made it to the quarterfinals at the junior doubles tournament this year is ranked 53th.  

In 2022, Kazakhstan’s 14U team competed for the first time at a world team championship, where they reached the semi-finals. At the Billie Jean King Cup Juniors Finals in Córdoba, Spain, the Kazakhstani team finished in 9th place among the best 16 teams in the world. This was the first-ever world championship competition for Kazakhstan’s 16U girls team. Meanwhile, the 16U boys team also finished in the top 10 at their debut world championship.  Even back in 2021, juniors from Kazakhstan won a record 37 ITF Juniors tournaments in singles and doubles and reached the finals in 44 others. In Tennis Europe 14 & Under tournaments, players from Kazakhstan won 19 tournaments and reached the finals in 15 more.

These achievements would not have been possible, of course, without proper training and, most importantly, accessible infrastructure. Players who are now 14–16 years old began playing tennis about 10 years ago. Bulat Utemuratov, President of the Kazakhstan Tennis Federation (KTF), played a key role in making tennis accessible to children when he became head of the Federation in 2007. Not long after taking over leadership of the KTF, Utemuratov spearheaded an ambitious effort to build state-of-the-art tennis facilities across the country. Home to only 7 tennis centres and 60 courts in 2007, Kazakhstan now boasts 48 modern facilities with 364 courts, most of which are indoors.  

According to the KTF, the average hourly cost for court rental has decreased from $50 in 2007 to $10 at present. The number of children playing tennis has grown from 900 in 2007 to 30,000 in 2023, and 3,500 of the most talented young players are given an opportunity to train free of charge and have access to the equipment they need as well as tournament support.

In addition to building the required infrastructure, the KTF has also been active at every level, starting with grassroots tennis for 5–7-year-olds.

A great deal of attention is paid to the 10 & Under Tennis project, where children learn the foundations for further growth. KTF experts attend the main tournaments for players 10 and under in order to scout the most promising players in this age group. The Federation also has a targeted programme that provides financial support for more than 100 young players aged 11–14 years old from all over Kazakhstan.

In addition, an important part of the junior development system is the Team Kazakhstan Academy, which was created in 2008 for promising juniors 14 and up. More than 300 of the country’s most talented children, juniors and young tennis players have already passed through the Academy.

The results we have seen from our junior players suggest that investments in the development of tennis infrastructure and targeted programmes for children have helped make tennis in Kazakhstan more accessible and taken it to a qualitatively new level, while also laying a solid foundation for training talented young players. They are the ones who will represent Kazakhstan at professional tournaments in the future, and the country won’t have to bring players from elsewhere.

Lifestyle

Six-in-10 Motorists Travelling to Europe Don’t Know Emergency Numbers

Published

on

A man driving abroad in a motorway
Just 38% of those surveyed were aware they should call 112 in the event of an emergency in the European Union | Photo: Dan Gold

With British drivers set to take millions of car trips across the Channel this summer, a new RAC research has found six-in-10 (62%) don’t know the right number to call to get help in an emergency.

Just 38% of those surveyed by RAC Europe knew they should call 112 in the event of an emergency in the European Union. Among the others, a third (32%) worryingly have absolutely no idea which number to call if they found themselves in need of urgent help on the continent, while one-in-10 (12%) say they would dial 999 – the UK’s three-digit emergency services’ number. A similar proportion (11%) think the correct number to dial for help is 111 – the NHS non-emergency line.

Four per cent mistakenly believe the number to call is 101, which is the non-emergency line for UK police forces, and three per cent think they should dial 911, the emergency number in the United States and Canada.

What emergency number to call while travelling in Europe

Phone numberWhat it’s forWhere it works
112Emergency assistanceAll of the European Union plus many other European countries, including Switzerland, Turkey and the UK
999Emergency assistanceUnited Kingdom
911Emergency assistanceAll of North America
101Police non-emergency assistanceUnited Kingdom
111NHS non-emergency assistanceEngland, Scotland and Wales

“The 112 number is the pan-European equivalent of 999 and can be used pretty much anywhere throughout Europe for emergencies, including the UK. Every second counts in the event of a dangerous collision, so getting through to the emergency services first time round could quite literally be the difference between life and death,” warns Rod Dennis, RAC Europe spokesperson.

Continue Reading

Lifestyle

Gen Z Side Hustlers See 22% Income Boost, Study Finds

Published

on

A Gen Z male white webdesigner works from home at his computer.
37% of Gen Z are 'Tri-Hustlers,' juggling multiple side-hustles to maximize income. | Photo: Per Lööv

A new research has found that 45% of Gen Zs, people born between 1996 and 2010, now have a side hustle. The study, which was conducted by Visa, also reveals that over a third (37%) of these having more than one way to make extra income.

E-commerce (34%), social media influencers (25%) and passion-based projects (19%) are the top three types of side hustle businesses being run by Gen Zs, according to Visa.

Almost seven in ten (69%) of Gen Z side hustlers set up their business with the primary objective of earning extra income, with average earnings from a side hustle being £218.60 per month. However, the research also found that over a quarter (27%) began their venture to explore a passion and a similar number (26%) did so to develop their skills further.

Of those surveyed, a majority (61%) report that they increased their side hustle income by at least 10% of the last 12 months, with the average increase at 22% year-on-year growth. The survey also reveals that those who are more passionate about their side hustles report significantly higher income levels, whilst side hustles that have been running for more than two years, generate higher earnings.

Grace Kennington, aged 22, turned a pandemic past-time into a successful side hustle, enhancing her skills in design, marketing, and social media to sell artwork online. She comments, “I wear a million different side-hustle hats; I’ve become an expert at everything from packaging, stock management and design. It’s really made me a lot more adaptable! My biggest piece of advice to aspiring side-hustlers is to just get stuck in, even if you’ve had no training. Also reach out to people doing similar work to build your network.”

Gen Z’s friends play a key role in their side hustles; a third (33%) claim their friends inspired them to start it, with a further 39% saying their friends help to make their side hustle a success, while just over a fifth (21%) are inspired by celebrities or influencers.

Sustainability and legacy-building underpin Gen Z’s long-term outlook; over a third (35%) aspire to eventually quit their primary job to focus entirely on their side hustle, and a further two fifths (39%) hope that their side-hustle will continue on for generations in their family.

“Gen Z are already playing a transformative role in our economy, spurring on innovation and new ways of working. Through our research, we’ve uncovered some really positive signs that they will continue to change the way businesses and organisations operate in years to come,” says Mandy Lamb, Managing Director, UK&I at Visa.

Continue Reading

Lifestyle

10 Thrift Stores in London to Shop on a Budget

Published

on

10 Thrift Stores in London to Shop on a Budget
Octavia was founded by Victorian philanthropist and social reformer Octavia Hill, who began her work with the poor of London in the 1860s

Thrifting in London offers a fantastic way to shop stylishly on a budget while supporting sustainable fashion. Here are 10 must-visit thrift stores in London, each providing a unique shopping experience.

TRAID

TRAID offers a wide range of second-hand clothing, with proceeds supporting global development projects. The store is well-organized, making it easy to find stylish, affordable items. TRAID’s commitment to sustainability and ethical fashion makes it a popular choice among conscious shoppers.

Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm; Sunday, 11am to 5pm.
To find your nearest Traid: http://traid.org.uk/shop-at-traid/

Beyond Retro

Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus
Beyond Retro is a haven for vintage lovers, offering a vast collection of retro clothing and accessories. The store is known for its eclectic mix and affordable prices, making it a favorite among fashion enthusiasts and bargain hunters alike.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 7pm; Sunday, 12pm to 6pm.
For more information: beyondretro.com

There are even Fara thrift shops dedicated to kids

FARA Charity Shop

Nearest Tube: Notting Hill Gate
with 40 shops and 30 years in charity retailing, FARA Charity Shops support children in Romania, offering a wide selection of clothing, books, and homewares. It’s a great place to find unique, budget-friendly items while supporting a good cause. If you go a bit outside London, there are even  Fara shops dedicated to kids.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm; Sunday, 11am to 5pm.
For more information: faracharity.org

Oxfam Boutique

Nearest Tube: High Street Kensington
Oxfam Boutique offers a curated selection of high-quality second-hand clothing and accessories. Proceeds support global poverty reduction efforts, making it a great place to shop with a purpose.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm; Sunday, 11am to 5pm.
For more information: oxfam.org.uk

Crisis

Nearest Tube: Stratford
Crisis supports homeless people in the UK, offering a range of second-hand clothing, books, and homewares. It’s a great place to find affordable, stylish items while supporting a good cause.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm; Sunday, 11am to 5pm.
For more information: crisis.org.uk

Cancer Research UK

Nearest Tube: Gloucester Road
Cancer Research UK shops offer a wide selection of second-hand clothing and accessories, with proceeds funding cancer research. The stores are well-stocked and reasonably priced, making them a popular choice for budget-conscious shoppers.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm; Sunday, 11am to 5pm.
For more information: cancerresearchuk.org

Sue Ryder

Nearest Tube: King’s Cross St. Pancras
Sue Ryder charity shops offer a range of second-hand clothing, books, and homewares. Proceeds support palliative, neurological, and bereavement support services, making your shopping trip meaningful.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm; Sunday, 11am to 5pm.
For more information: sueryder.org

Barnardo’s

Nearest Tube: Shepherd’s Bush
Barnardo’s charity shops offer a variety of second-hand clothing and accessories, with proceeds supporting vulnerable children and young people. The stores are well-stocked and affordably priced, making them a great option for thrifters.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm; Sunday, 11am to 5pm.
For more information: barnardos.org.uk

Octavia Foundation

Nearest Tube: South Kensington
Octavia Foundation charity shops offer high-quality second-hand clothing and homewares, supporting local community projects. The stores are known for their stylish selections and affordable prices. Octavia was founded by Octavia Hill, the Victorian philanthropist and social reformer, whose ideas formed the basis of the profession of housing management. Octavia began her work with the poor of London in the 1860s; she was a pioneer of social housing, a founder of the National Trust and the first clean air campaigner for London.


Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 6pm; Sunday, 11am to 5pm.
For more information: octaviafoundation.org.uk

Shopping at these thrift stores in London not only helps you save money but also supports various charitable causes and promotes sustainable fashion.

Continue Reading

Trending