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Samneang gets Doha place

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The Tennis Federation of Cambodia has brought in Long Samneang as a late replacement for injured left-hander Thun Thola in the five-member national squad heading to Doha, Qatar for the 2012 Asia Oceania Group IV Davis Cup campaign from April 16 to 22.

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Eighteen-year-old Long Samneang,  a member of the team that took the bronze medal at last year’s SEA Games in Indonesia, will join Bun Kenny, Mam Panhara and his brother Mam Vetu.

The Cambodian side is led by non-playing captain Tep Rithivit, who is also secretary-general of the TFC.

“We have already changed Thun Thola’s nomination. The organisers in Doha have accepted Long Samneang’s inclusion, and he will be making the trip,” Tep Rithivit told the Post yesterday.

“We found that Thun Thola couldn’t come up to the fitness levels we had set for the team because of some niggling problems. We weighed all the options and decided Long Samneang would best suit our plans.”

The TFC has cleared Long Samneang and his three team-mates for a short trip to Vietnam to play in two ITF Futures events, which will help the players sharpen their match play ahead of the crucial Davis Cup debut.

As per the action plan drawn up nearly a month ago, the four national players left for Vietnam early yesterday morning in the company of head coach Braen Aneiros.

“We want our players to be absolutely match fit, [both] mentally and physically, and Futures, being highly competitive events, will help their preparations for Doha,” Aneiros told the Post before the team’s departure.

The squad, with Aneiros and four other members of the Cambodian delegation, will leave Phnom Penh on April 13 for Qatar.

The official draw to determine two five-team pools will be held on April 14.

The top two teams from each group will progress to the criss-cross semifinals, the winners of which will be promoted to Group III for the 2013 competition.

To contact the reporter on this story: H S Manjunath at newsroom@phnompenhpost.com

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