What started as a moto-cross leisure ride for the secretary-general of Tennis Cambodia, Tep Rithivit, led to a hilltop discovery and a long-time tradition practised for nearly 10 years and is still going strong.
On that day 10 years ago, Rithivit and his two sons followed a dirt road they had discovered at the foothills of Kep National Park all the way up until they discovered a beautiful pagoda sitting atop the hill in the coastal city.
That discovery has led to a near 10 year-long tradition of Tennis Cambodia’s national teams running up the hillside’s hiking trail to meet the nuns and offer prayers at the Asram Sel Votei Pagoda before big competitions such as the Davis Cup, Southeast Asian (SEA)Games or Asian Games.
In preparation for this year’s Davis Cup campaign, another camp was held in Kep and another visit to the pagoda took place during training held from Saturday to Monday.
As well as the hike up the hill to the pagoda, the team also went on an endurance bike ride that took them to the salt fields of Kep and through muddy dirt roads recently flooded by heavy rains.
There were also jogs through the scenic trails of Kep National Park, and of course, tennis sessions at the lone court in Kep, which is located in the grounds of Villa Romonea.
Tennis Cambodia’s men’s national team will participate in this year’s Asia/Oceania Zone Group IV event, which is the lowest Davis Cup group for Asia and will feature 14 teams including Cambodia.
The other nations taking part are Pacific Oceania, Oman, Jordan, UAE, Mongolia, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, Iraq, Bangladesh, Guam, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
This year’s Group IV campaign is to be held in Jordanian capital Amman from September 11-14 at the Jordan Tennis Federation complex.
“Kep has become a very spiritual location for our team, a place for us to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and to really get our minds ready for whichever competition lays ahead.
“The serene and quiet setting makes it a perfect place for us to train for a weekend and to also bond with one another as everyone who joins the training camp must participate in all of the activities together as a team,” Rithivit said.