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TFC aces at tennis AGM

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Tennis Federation of Cambodia General Secretary Tep Rithivit (left) stands with International Tennis Federation President Francesco Ricci Bitti yesterday during the ITF AGM in Bangkok’s Four Seasons Hotel.

The Tennis Federation of Cambodia was given a rousing reception at the Annual General Meeting of the International Tennis Federation held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Bangkok yesterday ahead of the Kingdom’s official elevation today to B-class membership and impending reentry into the Davis Cup competition early next year.

“The TFC was the cynosure of all eyes and riveting interest,” TFC General Secretary Tep Rithivit told the Post by email yesterday.

“I was overwhelmed by the response we got from almost all the fellow delegates after our presentation on Cambodia’s rebirth from its own ashes. I can say with a tinge of pride that Cambodia was on the lips of almost every one present in that August gathering.

“For me personally and the Federation in particular, it was an unforgettable moment and I am sure my colleague and TFC treasurer Christophe Forsenetti, who actually made the presentation, was as moved by the ovation we received.”

This is the first time in decades that the TFC has taken its seat as a prospective voting member at the ITF’s general assembly. Notably Cambodia was one of only three countries, the United States and the Netherlands being the other two, invited to make a presentation on their tennis promotional programmes.

Reacting to the Kingdom’s compelling story, Lucy Garvin of the United States Tennis Association singled the TFC out as a shining example of success others could emulate. A senior board member of the ITF, Stuart Smith, said he was humbled by the presentation and exhorted other federations to follow this unique and true approach.

ITF President Francesco Francesco Ricci Bitti gave assurance that tennis’ world governing body would “embrace Cambodia’s endeavour”.

In a sporting gesture, the Dutch tennis federation indicated they would like to adopt the TFC as “a child” while calling on other grown-up and cash rich federations with surplus budgets to similarly help emerging federations.

Cambodia formally applied for a change of status last year, seeking an upgrade to B-class membership which entails a vote. The ITF is expected to formally approve Cambodia’s B-class membership at its working session today.

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