Lawn tennis star Chisomo Lumeta led by example at the Southern African Junior Circuit Championships in Gaborone, Botswana on Sunday when he won his first two matches.
The 15-year-old, who is based at the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) High Performance Centre (HPC) in Morocco, subjected the host country’s Khagiso Sebakile to a torrid run in the under-16’s first round with an emphatic 6-1, 6-0 thrashing before whitewashing Swaziland’s T, Siwela 6-0, 6-0.
But his compatriots Zione Nkhoma, Ramesh Banda and Linda Msiska, who are representing the country in the under 14 girls, under-12 boys and under-12 girls categories respectively, won a single match and lost once each. Under-14 star Anderson Mdala lost his only match of the day 6-0, 6-0 to Angolan Edward Moraif.
Nkhoma beat Tenolo Maria from Lesotho 6-0, 6-0 before succumbing to a 6-2, 6-0 defeat by Zimbabwe’s Beverly Maptsiwe. Banda thrashed A Almando of Mozambique 6-0, 6-0, but lost 6-3, 6-0 to South African Kholowani Modise. Msiska thumped the hosts’ Thato 6-4, 6-3 but lost 6-4, 4-6, 10-7 to Charlotte Zhuwakini of Zimbabwe in a close encounter.
“It is a good start for our representatives. Lumeta is leading by example due to his vast experience in international competitions. For the other ambassadors, it is quite impressive to note that they can afford victories despite playing under the floodlights for the first time,” said Lawn Tennis Association of Malawi (Ltam) president Francis Mwansa.
The country’s flag carriers were finalising their first round matches as we went to press. Each player is supposed to play five games to complete their fixtures in the round and see if they have qualified for the knockout stages.
The competition is expected to run up to January 11 and the best upcoming stars are assured of scholarships at the HPC. Lumeta got his place at the HPC after winning gold in the under-12 category during a similar contest in South Africa in 2009. n