HARARE – Three Zimbabwe wheelchair tennis players left the country yesterday for the Soweto Wheelchair Open tennis tournament in South Africa.
Zimbabwe’s top female wheelchair tennis player Molin Muza together with two male players Daniel Buleya and Alexender Mkandla, will represent the country at the tournament that is expected to run from tomorrow up to Sunday at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Complex.
Wheelchair Tennis Association of Zimbabwe (WTAZ) vice president Ogla Chisango said the trio will fight for points to improve their international rankings.
“The tournament will be a good opportunity for the local players to earn some points and international recognition and I’m happy this time we managed to get sponsors for our team to travel,” Chisango told the Daily News yesterday.
“Funding remains the biggest challenge for WTZA, athletes dream to represent their country in various regional and international tournaments.
“The funding problems are affecting the development of the game but we are still appealing to the corporate world to come and assist us with sponsorship.
“We need to shun the attitude of only associating with players when they have reached a high level and have no much years of activity left, but start helping them at development level so that they are able to excel by the time they reach their peak.”
The tournament was first held in 2009 when it was won by France’s Fabrice Santoro while the following year it was won by Dustin Brown.
South Africa’s Izak van der Merwe won the tournament when it was last held in 2011.
Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko is the highest ranked player at number 77 to have confirmed his participation at this year’s edition.