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Tennis ambassador an ace with the brush

120601_22

Japan’s Hisae Arai (left) signs photos of herself to hand out to kids during a visit to ASPECA school in Kep yesterday. Photograph: Epicerie Films/Phnom Penh Post

Japan’s Hisae Arai (left) signs photos of herself to hand out to kids during a visit to ASPECA school in Kep yesterday. Photograph: Epicerie Films/Phnom Penh Post

Hisae Arai, the newly named Goodwill Ambassador of the Tennis Federation of Cambodia, visited an ASPECA-run orphanage school in the southern coast resort town of Kep yesterday, depicting tennis as a game without boundaries in an art message she created on the spot.

The 2011 Miss Japan drew thunderous applause from scores of students who surrounded her painting table set up in the schoolyard after she produced a colourful artwork complete with Japanese calligraphy in 10 minutes flat.

“Against the backdrop of the sun and skies, I have painted the Kep beach along with rice fields and a tennis court. The message quite simply is about life and tennis and how well the two compliment each other,” said Arai.

Among her host of admirers was the TFC President and senior commerce minister Cham Prasidh, who had earlier shared some court time with her playing fun doubles against two kids from the school’s tennis programmes.

“Your painting was so nice. You did it very fast – a wonderful message. Who knows you may have inspired someone to be an artist like you today,” the president told Arai.

“It was important for the kids, especially those who are in the tennis programme, to meet someone like Hisae Arai, and she was an instant hit with them,” said TFC Secretary General Tep Rithivit.

The President of the Kep wing of ASPECA, Thor Soeurn, told the Post that the students were thrilled watching Hisae Arai in action with her brush.

“I feel she delivered a powerful message to the students about the virtues of tennis with her art message more than her words,” he said.

The 25-year-old former Miss Komodo made the day one to remember for the tennis playing kids by giving each one of them an autographed postcard-size photo of her in traditional Japanese costume.

Later, the school organised the on-the-spot painting contest.

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

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