Lao Tennis players hungry for international experience

Posted by samakomlao Sunday, August 2, 2009

Lao national tennis players need the Lao Tennis Federation to support them to attend international tournaments, claimed some players recently.

A member of the national men's tennis team said the players need to compete in international level events to gain experience before the 25th SEA Games in Vientiane later this year.

“Just training and not competing isn't so good. We would like the federation to address this problem because we are hosting the games and want to perform well in front of our home crowd,” the player said.

Many players agree that if the federation cannot arrange for the squad to compete in international tournaments they will continue to struggle to perform.

A committee member of the federation, Mr Sitthisay Sackpaseuth said yesterday the federation would like to send its players to compete in international tournaments but faces a shortage of funding.

“We plan to send them to a competition in Thailand soon. All sporting federations want their athletes to gain experience in the international arena, but many face funding problems like us,” he said.

Mr Sitthisay said Lao tennis players are still amateurs, which means it is hard to attract sponsorship.

“We hope to send them to international tournaments soon and we will also arrange local competitions for them to identify their weaknesses, so they can continue to improve their skills in the future,” he said.

The federation plans to invite tennis players from two or three countries in the region to participate in a competition at the tennis courts to be used during the SEA Games prior to the games commencing.

“The competition would provide a good test for our athletes, as well as referees and other technical staff before the real event in December,” Mr Sitthisay said.

The federation now has four female and seven male tennis players preparing for the games. The squad trains six hours a day, six days a week.

Federation Secretary, Mr Sisomphet Xayarath said the federation selected the squad in March, following on from the Eighth National Games in Champassak province last year.

“I believe all the players will do their best for their nation because they have demonstrated their dedication and willingness to practise hard,” Mr Sisomphet said.

The federation has vowed to do its best to raise more funds to allow the players to get international experience.

“The federation is currently discussing possibilities and will announce future plans next month,” Mr Sitthisay said.

By Souknilundon Southivongnorath

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