BY ROMULUS HUTA
THE Solomon Islands national men’s tennis team has completed their campaign in the Tennis Nations Cup in Fiji at third place.
The inaugural Tennis Nations Cup came to a close yesterday evening at the Regional Tennis Training Centre in Lautoka.
The national men’s team in the form of Benjamin Junior, Graham Mani and Popai Leong finished in the third place after a 3-0 walkover on Kiribati in the play-off for third and fourth.
Tahiti finished in the first place after winning the grand final against Vanuatu.
In the women’s competition, our female reps in the form of trio Doreen Ningalo, Zorika Morgan and Prudence Bird finished in the sixth place.
Finishing at the top in the women’s is Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) after defeating Samoa in the grand final.
The Nations Cup began last Thursday and ran until last night’s closing.
The event, the first of its kind worldwide, gives players from 15 nations with Class C membership from Pacific Oceania who are not represented as individual nations in Davis Cup or Fed Cup the opportunity to compete in high-level competition in the same format as the sport’s biggest team competitions.
Organised by The Oceania Tennis Federation (OTF) with substantial financial assistance from the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the Fiji National Sports Commission and sponsors, Punjas Group, the event has proved very popular in its first year with all 15 eligible nations taking part. It is hoped that the Nations Cup will become a staple fixture biennially, and a prestigious event for players in the region to train towards.
“This is a great achievement considering the geographical challenges experienced in this part of the world,” stated Tennis Fiji President Mr Richard Breen.
“We are delighted to host this pilot event here in the Pacific Oceania Region in what we are sure will become an important regular feature of the regional calendar and around the world in the years to come.”
ITF Development Officer for Pacific Oceania, Gary Purcell, who is based full-time in Fiji, said: “The spirit of the players has been very positive from the start and it is great to see so many players and coaches from around the region come together to compete in both singles and doubles to represent their nations.”