Once again foreign athletes’ superiority poked fun at local contestants’ rickety performance in the K5 million Puma Energy Malawi Open Lawn Tennis Championship, where the only foreigner Italian Egon Tascher won the men singles’ finals with 6-3 6-1 6-3 victory over James Matewere.
For the past six years Puma Energy has been sponsoring the annual event, Malawians have been playing second fiddle to foreign legion and it seems the trend has become a habit. However, Chisomo Lumeta and female player Tadala Kandulu, who are based in the USA, were not available for participation.
The failure of Zimbabwean, Zambian, Congolese and Kenyan nationals to take part in this year’s contest gave local contestants hope that all the trophies will remain in the country until Tascher showed up at Country Club Limbe (CCL) to take the glory, that came with a K350 000 winner’s purse.
Lawn Tennis Association of Malawi (LTAM) general secretary Christopher Kachale attributed the local players’ lacklustre display to lack of proper training facilities and equipment.
“However, our recent acquiring of the national tennis centre with help from International Tennis Federation (ITF) and Puma Energy Malawi at CCL will help to nurture and polish talent before such contests,” Kachale said.
However, the women’s category was safe from foreign dominance as only locals took part. Mzuzu-based national champion Mary Luhanga took the singles’ crown with 7-6 3-6 6-2 triumph over her rival Patricia Matola-Mlomba to take home K300 000 prize.
In men’s doubles, Matewere and Julius Taulo earned a walk-over win in the finals against a pair of Henry Ntuta and Wilson Paul while Ivy Chilamwa and Prisca Maloya took glory in the women’s section with a 6-4 6-3 victory on Matola-Mlomba and Angella Msosa.
The mixed doubles trophies went to Matewere and Luhanga, who squeezed life out of Paul and Chilamwa with a 7-6 6-2 7-4 beating.
Puma Energy Malawi managing director Davies Lanjesi said they were impressed with the conduct of both the players and administrators of the competition and he promised continued sponsorship.