Entertainment and gaming sector leaders NagaWorld has renewed its main sponsorship of the Cambodian national tennis team bound for Iran in early June for this year’s Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Group III campaign, extending its partnership with the squad for the third year running.
NagaWorld and the sport’s governing body in the country, Tennis Cambodia, first struck an historic alliance in 2012, leading to the Kingdom’s spectacular all-win success on Davis Cup debut, which caught the world headlines in the Qatari capital Doha.
For a country of just 28 tennis courts at the time, the promotion from Group IV to III as the newest member of the 132-strong Davis Cup family was hailed as a unique achievement.
The partnership strengthened further in Dubai last year when Cambodia came back from a shaky start to make the four-team promotional play-offs, in which they went down gamely to Hong Kong but proudly retained their Group III status.
“Every country in the world takes pride in Davis Cup participation. We have been with the Cambodian team from the start and we are happy with the team’s performance and feel privileged to continue our support,” NagaWorld vice president of events and entertainment Jerome Lee told the Post yesterday.
“We look forward to another fruitful campaign and hope the team returns from Iran clutching a Group II ticket.”
Tennis Cambodia secretary- general Tep Rithivit, who is also the squad’s non-playing captain for the third season in a row, said: “Continuity is not just a blessing, its reaffirmation of faith which I see as our strength. I am grateful to NagaWorld for staying on board and supporting the team for the third year. We are determined to build on our gains in Doha and Dubai.”
As part of its corporate social responsibility, NagaWorld has been vigorously pursuing promotion of sports in Cambodia as a powerful medium of social change and youth empowerment.
Apart from its involvement with the Davis Cup team and Tennis Cambodia’s junior tennis initiative, NagaWorld will also continue its support for the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia by way of providing the country’s Asian Games squad heading to Incheon, South Korea, with practice and competition apparel and gear.
Meanwhile, one of the tennis squad members, Mam Panhara, will arrive in Phnom Penh today from the United States to join teammates Bun Kenny, Mam Phalkun and Long Samneang. National coach Braen Aneiros, who is currently on an overseas trip, will be back to take charge of the training sessions by the end of this week.
The Post has reliably learnt that the four-member team along with coach Aneiros will depart from Phnom Penh on May 31 to Bangkok for a one-week stint on clay courts at the Asian Tennis Centre, just to get a feel of the surface on which they will play their Davis Cup matches in Iran.
Non-playing captain Tep Rithivit will join the rest in Bangkok on June 5 and the squad will leave for Tehran the following day ahead of the June 9 start of this year’s cycle at the outdoor red clay courts of the famed Enghelab Sports Complex.
“Preparation is the key to performance and we are playing this year on a surface our players are not used to. Clay is a challenging surface. That is one reason why we are spending this important week trying to get the best possible practice on clay,” said Tep Rithivit.
The eight competing teams in Tehran for two promotional tickets to next year’s Group II, are Cambodia, Iran, Lebanon, Malaysia, Singapore, Syria, Turkmenistan and United Arab Emirates.
At the end of the weeklong series, two teams will move up to Group II and two will go down to Group IV next year.