Coastal players book AAG Tennis slots

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Jul 17, 2015
  • Paige Mbugua was one of the players who participated in the AAG Trials at nairobi Club. The women's category will be completed on Sunday. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Sheil Kotecha returns a backhand to Faiz Khan who had a slow start but rallied to qualify for the AAG after trials at Nairobi Club. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

Three Mombasa-based tennis payers qualified for the All Africa Games at the completion of trials at Nairobi Club.

The trio of Kevin Cheruiyot, Faiz Khan and Ibrahim Kibet earned places in the Kenya team for this year’s Games set for Brazzaville, Congo in September after occupying the top three slots during the trials which started on Monday.

They will be joined by another coastal region player Ismael Changawa who was given an automatic qualifier slot. Changawa is based in the U.S.

During the trials, these three players were dominant winning their matches against Ronny Ndinya, Allan Saha and Sheil Kotecha. Cheruiyot finished top of the round robin event and qualified for the games for the first time. He registered wins over Ndinya (6-3, 6-3), Kibet (6-4, 7-5), Saha (6-4, 4-6, 6-1) and Kotecha (2-6, 6-3, 6-4).

The only match he lost was against Khan 6-4, 6-4. Cheruiyot was delighted with his qualification saying it was all because of the hard work he put in practice since the beginning of the year. “I knew this games were coming up and I wanted to qualify. So I had to work hard and I am happy I have qualified,” Cheruiyot who is the current top-ranked player said.

Kibet beat Khan (6-7, 6-2, 6-4), Ndinya (6-2, 6-2), Saha (5-7, 6-4, 6-4), and Kotecha (6-2, 2-1) to finish second and qualify for his second AAG games. Kibet and Khan were in the Kenyan squad that finished fifth overall alongside Changawa and Yash Rawal.

Second time at AAG

Kibet told sportsnewsarena that he was delighted to have put on a good show in the trials to qualify to the AAG for the second time.  “AAG are Africa top games and the feeling of being in that is good. I can’t wait to fly the Kenyan flag once again,” Kibet said.

Khan recovered from a poor start on the opening day to qualify for the games. He made it after wins over Cheruiyot (6-4, 6-4), Saha (6-1, 6-1), Ndinya (6-3, 6-1). Khan said lack of proper training in Mombasa due to the rainy weather affected his start but was happy that he finally made it into the team.

“I started poorly but I had confidence in me. I knew if I win one match I will be back in contention. And after beating Cheruiyot in the first match of the second day, I knew I can go all the way and I didn’t look back,” Khan stated. Allan Saha was named as a reserve.

The ladies team will be finalized on Sunday after the remaining matches involving Abigael Tate Harte. All Harte’s matches were rescheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday as she was busy at school.