Davis Cuppers Mam Phalkun and Long Samneang along with French-Cambodian Andrea Ka will carry the country’s tennis aspirations at the Incheon Asian Games under the guidance of national coach Braen Aneiros.
The tennis events – offering seven gold, as many silver and 14 bronze medals – involve team, singles and doubles for both men and women, along with mixed doubles, and will be held from September 20-30 at the new Yeorumul Tennis Courts in the Bupyeong-gu district of Incheon.
Tennis Cambodia picked Phalkun as a late replacement for the country’s Davis Cup spearhead Bun Kenny, who is resting a slight shoulder strain.
“We thought it best for Kenny to be absolutely fit for the forthcoming three-leg Cambodian Futures series,” Tennis Cambodia secretary general Tep Rithivit told the Post yesterday.
“Kenny is on the lookout for more ATP points to improve his ranking this year and his role will be crucial for us in events like Davis Cup and SEA Games.
“It is very tough but useful. It is a wonderful experience for our players to be in elite events like the Asian Games where they are in the midst of some of the best in the Continent. I hope our players make the most of it,” added the secretary.
“Phalkun fills in quite well. He did a competent job during our Group III Davis Cup Campaign in Tehran. For Long Samneang it is [a] great opportunity to play at this level and Andrea Ka made it to the SEA Games in Indonesia and she is our top female player.”
Phalkun, who is also head of Tennis Cambodia’s junior development, said: “It is an exciting trip for me. Totally unexpected but I am looking forward to it. I had never imagined I would be playing in the Asian Games. We do not know who we are up against but we are ready.”
While Phalkun and Samneang will travel with the Cambodian delegation leaving Phnom Penh on September 16, Andrea Ka, who is presently pursuing her studies in the United States, will join them in Incheon.
Cambodia was represented by Bun Kenny and Orn Sambath at the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou four years ago.
Guangzhou Games winners
Somdev Devvarman (India)
Somdev Devvarman and Sanam Singh (India)
Men’s Team – Taiwan
Women’s Singles Peng Shuai (China)
Chan Yung-jan and Chuang Chia-jung (Taiwan)
Women’s Team – China
Chan Yung-jan and Yang Tsung-hua (Taiwan)
Soft tennis launch
After the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia, Orn Sambath was out of the national reckoning the following year but he is making it to Incheon with the country’s three-member Soft Tennis team, being coached by South Korean Kim Gun Jung. The other members of the team are Ngoun Meng Chheng and female Yi Sophany.
Soft Tennis, which is a demonstration sport in Incheon, differs from regular tennis in that the game is played with soft rubber balls instead of the hard yellow ones.
The soft tennis events will be held from September 29 to October 3.