Cambodia’s five-member squad of fresh faces drawn from its grassroots program got a first taste of regional competition earlier this week at the ongoing ITF under-14 event in Ho Chi Minh City.
With four out of the five travelling outside the country for the first time, the players were understandably edgy in the first of the two tournaments and ended up with no wins.
But they are eager to put the lessons learnt in those matches for good and get better results when they move into the next event, predicted travelling coach Run Dun, who is more popularly known as Coach Som and for whom this is also his first big break.
For the first time, Tennis Cambodia chose two female players, Nyem Srey Noch and Lou Reaksmey, both of whom are from Siem Reap’s booming grassroots initiative.
It highlighted the steady progress being made in the northwest region headed by head coach Scott Windus, who also mentored Som to fit the role he is playing in the development.
Also on the team are Chhieu Chaya from Phnom Penh, Rouert Sampun from Battambang, and Soum Rootha from Siem Reap.
The ITF Asia 14 and Under Development Championships is being played out at Phu Tho Tennis Club.
With the first event now out of the way, the Cambodian players are looking for the start of the week to compete again and improve their record before they return on January 20 all the wiser for this unique exposure as never before have so many players been sent to another country for a similar ITF event.
Results from Event 1
Soum Rootha lost to Namiq Shahid from the Maldives, 4-2, 4-1
Rouert Sampun lost to U
Purevdorj from Mongolia, 4-0, 4-0
Chhieu Chaya, after receiving a bye in the first round, lost to 16th seeded Quang Vinh Nguyen from Vietnam, 6-0, 6-0
Lou Reaksmey lost to 5th seeded Polina Yancharuk from Kyrgyzstan, 6-1, 6-0
Nyem Srey Noch lost to Mashfia Afrin from Bangladesh 6-0, 6-1. Mashfia holds a ranking of 321 in the ITF/ATF Junior Rankings.