KUCHING: Jancy Ceria Odau, Dauglas Austin and Tan Lin Xin are the latest to enter the list of state tennis players who are going or have gone to study in local or overseas universities.
The Sarawak Lawn Tennis Association (SLTA) celebrates such news as it has helped produce Sukma players who entered universities on tennis scholarships.
“Ever since l took over as the president of SLTA in 1998, we have produced many Sukma players who are not only good in tennis but also very disciplined and focused in their studies.
“After their graduation, they have done well in their respective career fields.
“I always believe that if sports persons excel in their respective sport, they will also excel in their studies as they are more focused and target orientated,” said Dato Patrick Liew.
Jancy and Dauglas have been accepted to study sports science in UPSI while Tan will report to the Oklahoma Baptist University in the US in August.
The trio are also expected to play for their university tennis teams.
Jancy and Dauglas, both of whom are from Saratok, are following the footsteps of former Sukma player Rohizat Achop Borhan Janang who completed his diploma in Sports Science at Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI) in Perak and is currently working for the Sarawak Sports Corporation.
The duo, accompanied by teacher coach Stevie Din from Sarawak Sports School SMK Tabuan Jaya, paid a courtesy visit to Liew at his office on Friday (July 17) to convey the good news and thank the latter for SLTA’s help in grooming them from rural students into Sukma players.
They are the successful products of the collaboration between SLTA and SMK Tabuan Jaya in a tennis development programme that started seven years ago.
“We are really happy to see this kind of successful students. We are looking to get and assist more poor students from the rural schools as they are more focused and willing to work hard for future success.
“The present group of players from rural schools may not be as good when compared to the previous group of Sukma players because they only started playing tennis from form one to form five but they have proven that hard work and determination pays off handsomely,” said Liew.
Liew noted that many of the former Sukma players who won tennis scholarships to further their studies in the US ended up settling there after graduation, a decision that Liew respected.
“However, we are hoping that those who competed their further education can return to Sarawak one day and contribute back to the state tennis by either becoming sparring partners for the elite players, coaches or officials,” added Liew.