Namibian Juniors Show Promise in Botswana

| May 12, 2015

The 2015 International Tennis Federation junior tournament for Under 12’s and 14’s began on the 7th of May in Gaborone, Botswana, with players from Angola, Lesotho, Mauritius, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe and the host Botswana competing.

Of the nine-player Namibian contingent Taimi Nashiku, Connor van Schalkwyk and Diken de Jong were the best players as they all reached the quarter finals.

Connor van Schalkwyk, who was seeded second in the Boys Under 12 category, thrashed Thaane Mokose, from Lesotho 6-0, 6-0 to aance to the quarter finals.

Here, he came up against Chando Hollinrake of Botswana in a marathon match which also recorded the longest rally of 45 shots. Hollinrake eventually won the match 7-6, 3-6, 10-7 but Van Schalkwyk went down fighting and refused to give up even after he sprained his ankle. Unfortunately Van Schalkwyk will not be able to participate in the second tournament due to his injury.

Diken de Jongh beat Bukhosi Moyo from Zimbabwe 6-4, 7-5 to reach the quarters, where he came up against the tournament’s top seed Ramesh Banda from Malawi, and despite a spirited fight he succumbed 6-2, 6-0.

In the Girls Under 14 section Taimi Nashiku beat Mwaiwathu Kadamanja from Malawi 6-3, 6-1 to book a place in the quarter finals against the second seed Tshegofa Tsiang from Botswana, who won the encounter 6-3, 6-1. Nashiku fought hard and led 3-2 in the first set but Tsiang rallied back to take the fist set 6-3 and the second set 6-1.

The road was however too steep for the rest of the Namibian juniors who bowed out of the main draw in the first and second rounds. In the girls Under 14 singles the unseeded Megan Lombardt was unfortunate to face the top seeded South African Lara van der Merwe in the first round and was outclassed 6-0, 6-0.

In the Boys Under 14 section Risto Shikongo had a bye in the first round but lost to the third seed Jason Espitalier from Mauritius 6-3, 6-1 in the second round. Shikongo who led 3-0 in the first set, could not keep up with the level of intensity and allowed the Mauritian junior to take control of the match.

Yed Malan lost 7-5, 6-0 in the first round against South Africa’s Kelvin Dlamini.

In the Girls Under 12 section Hendrina Apollus lost 6-1, 6-2 against Linda Msiska from Malawi while Tammy-Anne Lombardt lost 6-1, 6-0 to Sarah Introcaso from Mauritius.

According to Nqobilizwe Moyo, the Namibia Tennis Association development coach travelling with the Namibian team, the first tournament will earn the players higher ranking points for the next tournaments and raise their confidence to do better in the second tournament which starts on 11 of May.

Source : The Namibian

Category: General

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