Cambodian tennis wonder find Chin Samphors, who picked up his tennis threads barely a year ago at an ASPECA-run orphanage in Kep, made a favourable impression on the big stage when he won the Boys U11 singles title in the first Junior National Tournament organised by the Tennis Federation of Cambodia at the National Training Centre yesterday.
Striding out confidently on court, Chin Samphors directed the showdown to his liking and was all over TFC junior program product Leng Sarin Reach 4-0, 4-1.
On the way up, Chin Samphors easily had the measure of Sen Sophon 4-1, 4-1 in the semifinals, while Leng Sarin Reach was stretched to his limits by Sroeurn Tola in a tense three-setter.
After dropping the first set Leng Sarin Reach fought back to wean the contest away from Tola at 1-4, 5-3, 4-1.
The Girls U11 singles event was claimed by Cheng Serey Votey, who shrugged off a determined bid by Hour Srey Poev in a well contested final.
Cheng Serey Votey, a 5-3, 4-2 winner, handled the pressure points better than nine-year-old Hour Srey Poev, whose court skills earned her many admirers.
In the semifinals, Hour Srey Poev defeated Hour Sreynuch 4-1, 4-1 while Cheng Serey Votey blanked out Cheng Channeang 4-0, 4-0.
“It was such a wonderful sight watching these kids put their tennis lessons to test. The Federation’s focus is on these boys and girls turning their ambition to achievement and there is no better stop than this national junior event,” TFC Secretary General Tep Rithivit told the Post yesterday.
“We will have a few more of these events so that there is a free and continuous flow of competitive spirit among these boys and girls,” he added.
The number of entries in both the boys and girls events has also touched a new peak with 35 players making it to the boys draw and 15 chasing the girls title.
For the group of visitors from Kep, there was another exciting side-show on offer during the prize distribution function.
TFC Goodwill Ambassador Hisae Arai, a former Miss Japan and art message expert, gave away mementoes to the top three art creations from a contest she had launched for ASPECA tennis kids in Kep three weeks ago.
“I went through all the 22 entries. I was impressed by the drawing skills displayed by some of the boys and girls. It is truly amazing how these small kids are able to express their tennis thoughts in art form,” Hisae Arai told the Post yesterday.
The first prize in the competition was awarded to Ung Srey Pov for her sketch of a tennis court by the Kep beachside.
An Dara picked up second prize for his thoughtful drawing of a court while the watercolor work on a Kep sunset earned Chin Samphors the third prize.
To contact the reporter on this story: H S Manjunath at firstname.lastname@example.org