Sunday, September 27

Pontianak warm-up for tennis squad


KUCHING: Sarawak will be sending a team of seven men and seven women players to the tournament in Pontianak, Kalimantan from May 30-June 3.

Aries Elyaas Deen Hisham

Aries Elyaas Deen Hisham

According to Sarawak Lawn Tennis Association president Patrick Liew, the 14 players from the state Sukma shadow team would be sent to get some exposure and experience in the event that would also see top junior and senior players from Jakarta and West Kalimantan taking part.

“It will be a good exposure for the players prior to Sukma and I believe our players can learn a lot from their Indonesian counterparts,” he said in a press conference for the Kuching Closed Championship at his office here yesterday.

Liew said Pontianak was chosen for the purpose as it was nearer to Kuching and the cost of sending a team with their coach there was much lower than sending them to Peninsular Malaysia.

The men are Gilbert Yeo, Zhong Zhia Hwa, Razlan Rawi, Kelvin Lee, Oscar Chang, Mohd Assri Merzuki and Aries Elyaas Deen Hisham while the women’s team comprise Michelle Liew, Aileen Tsan, Wena Tsan, Shirley Ling, Cecelia Lai, Elian Lee and Jane Chan.

“Of the seven women players, all except Michelle and Aileen have confirmed taking part because the duo are now preparing for their exams in the US,” Liew said.

He said it would be a great loss to the state team if the two US-based players could not come back for the tournament as they are considered as the key players of the team.

“Michelle won two golds and one silver while Aileen won three golds at the last Sukma in Terengganu and they are very experienced players,” he added.

Meanwhile, the closing date for the Kuching Closed has been extended until tomorrow.

“So far we have received more than 10 entries and we are expecting more to sign up within the next two days,” said Liew.

The event, open to tennis enthusiasts residing and working in Kuching and Kota Samarahan, is divided into men’s singles, men’s doubles, veteran singles, veteran doubles and novice singles. It will be played on April 10-11.

Liew said SLTA, besides organising international events to promote tennis and sports tourism in the state, was also very much involved in organising local tournaments such as the Kuching Closed, which is an annual affair.

“We want to organise more local events so that we can not only create and promote interest in the sport but also create a larger pool of players from where we can groom into future tennis stars,” he pointed out.

The best players from this championship will represent Kuching in the Sarawak Inter-Division and Sarawak Closed to be held here from May 21-26.