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Tennis Open spreads to Counties

KENYA-LT-OPENNAIROBI, Kenya, May 12 – Five junior players from six counties will qualify for this year’s Real Insurance Lawn Tennis Kenya Open that runs from May 31 to June 2 at Nairobi Club.

Qualifying rounds for the men and women senior event will be held on June 15 with winners joining seeded players.

Speaking during the launch on Monday, tournament director Wanjiru Mbugua said the competition will roll out in Kiambu, Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret, Kakamega and Machakos counties.

They were selected among the 47 depending on current state of tennis infrastructure and producing players especially within the school system.

“The event has been taking place in Nairobi with only players from Mombasa and a few from Kisumu registering outside the capital but this time round we want to take the sport to all the counties.

“The new County Government structure and by extension in sports has inspired us to open up avenues for them to run preliminary editions leading up to the main competition,” Wanjiru, who revealed intentions to spread the competition to 23 regions in three years, stated.

All defending champions have confirmed participation in the senior singles and doubles in ladies and men as well as the junior boys’ and girls’ that with will feature Under 10 to 18 contests.

Veterans aged over 40 and wheelchair divisions will be drawn to compete with the seniors in a maximum of three events while juniors are restricted to a single and doubles.

However, junior players aged 13 years and above are allowed to participate in the senior ranks.
Wanjiru added that County organisers have started preparations as they expect to enter as many players as they can.

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Entry forms are available in all leading tennis clubs, schools and sports houses with registration closing on June 12 before the draw is conducted at the host venue two days later.

Meanwhile, title sponsor Real Insurance renewed its three year partnership when they injected Sh3m (USD 34, 423) towards the event with Sh1.2m (USD 13,768) going to prize money.

“Last year entries were well received from East Africa and other regions including Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi, Uganda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe so we hope the Kenya Lawn Tennis Association will ensure we get more entries from as far as Central Africa.

“The increase in sponsorship also stems from the proposal by the Association to spread the game throughout the country and hope it will bring a higher level of international participation.

“We hope that through the sponsorship our country will produce a tennis champion worthy of the grand slum tournaments of Wimbledon, USA, Australia and French Open if we achieve that we will have succeeded in promoting tennis in the country,” Real Insurance CEO Joseph Kiuna said.

The preliminary round in the Counties will run as follows:

County Venue Coaches Workshop Tournament
Kiambu Thika Gymkhana 16th – 17th May 2014 18th May 2014
Mombasa Mvita Sports Club 16th – 17th May 2014 18th May 2014
Kisumu NLTA Center 16th – 17th May 2014 18th May 2014
Eldoret Moi Girls Eldoret 23rd to 24th May 2014 25th May 2014
Kakamega Kakamega Sports Club 23rd to 24th May 2014 25th May 2014
Machakos Machakos High 30th to 31st May 2014

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