Sadietou Biguedenam Mayou, TOGO
I was born and raised in Togo (West Africa). I was born on July, 13th 1988 in Kara, located in the northern part of Togo. I am fluent in French, English, and four other native languages. I have an undisputed belief in the power of God and that only He can make all things possible. I decided to play tennis after watching the French Open on TV one Saturday. The match was between Marie Pierce from France and Jennifer Capriati form the United States. It was my first time seeing the game and I immediately fell in love with it. The next week, I put on my best skirt and sneakers and without giving it too many though, I asked my older sister about places where I could play tennis. She told me to go to "Hotel Kara" because she had seen people play there once in a while, but she warned me that tennis was for the rich and not to get my hopes up.
Hotel Kara was a one hour walk or more from my house, so I decided to go and learn how to play tennis. After a long walk, I reached the courts already sweating and asked the coaches, Anatol and Adje, if I could play tennis. They did not ask for money but volunteered to teach me. I would walk to the tennis courts every Wednesday after school, Saturdays and Sundays, help the members by picking up balls and then play with the coaches and sometimes with other kids who wanted to learn as well. Seeing how we were commited to tennis, the president of the tennis club decided to create a small tennis academy for us for free. We were practicing twice a week.
The Togolese Federation launched a tournament in order to recruit young tennis players who could take part in the junior circuit in West Africa. The first racquet I ever owned I won at a tournament- that was a proud moment for me! I reached the finals and was recruited to join the national team. I moved to the capital and was given more opportunities to practice with the national coaches, Agbo, Eric and Dovi. Every summer, we would travel to some West African countries and play junior circuits. When I reached 18 years old I was no longer part of the team because I was considered a senior. In order to travel and play tournments, I would give private lessons to members of the club and sometimes pick up balls. Some members were very generous and would help pay for my bus ticket sometimes. Things were not as easy anymore, I was in college and trying to play tournemnts at the same time. Coaches like Anthony Gakpo and Diego Ramirez helped me improve my game by coaching me for free. My breaking point came when I had to travel for a week from Togo to Senegal to play a tournament. The journey was long and I questioned if it was really worth it. After that journey I decided to focus on my studies and let tennis not be a priority anymore.
With coach Reda Neit Omar form Georgia Perimeter College
Coming to the United States of America was a dream that I hoped would become a reality ever since I was a little girl. After many failed attempts to come and study in the US, a friend of mine named Salif Kante contacted me for scholarship opportunities one more time and wanted to know if I was interested. I said yes and he guided me through the steps in applying to Georgia Perimeter college. A few months later, I was finally blessed with a tennis scholarship to study at Georgia Perimeter College in Atlanta. Two years later, God blessed me with another scholarship to attend one of the best Christian universities in the nation: Southeastern University (SEU).
With coach Bill May and my team at Southeastern Univesity
While I enjoyed playing tennis and competing at different levels for SEU, I could not help but notice the numerous opportunities that God had bestowed upon me. As a Southeastern University Alumni, God put in my heart the desire to give a chance to the less fortunate and talented kids in Africa by creating opportunities via InterRecruit to get their college education by playing a sport. The cost of education in America is very high but I was able to receive a great education by using my athletic talent in tennis and it made me appreciate the days when I had to put in all the hard work to improve my tennis game. I was blessed with multiple opportunities to get my college education while playing the sport that I love the most.
Graduated from undergrad
Looking back, I cannot help but feel sorry for all my friends who are very talented, but did not get the same opportunities. There are many talented kids in Africa left undiscovered or not given a scholarship opportunity to get an education and show off their athletic talent to the many American colleges and universities whose teams would benefit from these players. 1 Peter 4:10 says “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” I hope that through my organization, God will give an opportunity to all the talented players in Africa get an education by playing the sport they love.