THE seven member Team Lesotho failed to rise to the occasion at the week-long International Tennis Federation under 18 tournament at the National Tennis Courts in Maseru which ended on Friday.
Gerhardt Becker of South Africa beat Dennis Moses of Zimbabwe to win the singles title in the boys’ category while Linge Stenkeemp of South Africa got the better of Nikol Rivkin of Germany in the girls’ singles.
The doubles pair of Moses and Bruno Nhavene of Mozambique beat the Serbian duo of Alesak Ciric and Tadija Radovanovic in the boys’ category while the pair of Chelsea Dzenga (Zimbabwe) and Adetayo Adetunji (Nigeria) overcame the South African pair of Angela Geoigivia and Arista Siebretis in the girls’ doubles.
Lehlohonolo Motsamai, Teboho Morake, Mpaleng Sempe and Thaane Mokose all fell at the first hurdle in the boys’ singles as did Kekeletso Moseme and Manyama Maisa in the girls’ singles.
Karabelo Thite was the only one who sailed past the first round but fell in the second.
In the boys’ doubles, Motsamai and Sempe were beaten by Zimbabweans while Mokose and Morake lost out to Brazilian opposition.
Maisa and Moseme got a bye in the first round of the girls’ doubles but their happiness was short-lived as they were knocked out in the quarter final by South Africans.
However, Lesotho Lawn Tennis Association president Kamohelo Hlomisi told the Sunday Express that he was satisfied with his charges’ performance as they were on a learning curve.
“They all lost in the first phase of the tournament but I am satisfied with the commitment and determination they showed,” Hlomisi said.
“There were also positives in that all the players who participated now have identification numbers which will enable them to be ranked and start playing as many competitions as possible to collect points and improve their rankings.
“We have always said it is important to take our players to as many tournaments as we can because it is only by playing that they can improve,” he said.
Hlomisi stressed that parents had a role to play by ensuring the players participated in as many tournaments as possible while the LLTA worked out plans to establish tennis clubs in the country.
“The plans are there to establish tennis clubs in the country and in the meantime, parents will have to take their children to competitions especially when they are not on national duty.
“There are so many open tournaments in the region where parents can take their children but unfortunately tennis is an expensive sport and we have been trying to help but we also do not have enough money to participate in all of them,” Hlomisi said.
He also paid tribute to the corporate organisations that weighed in sponsorship for the tournament, saying it would have not been easy without their support.