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Post Info TOPIC: Philippines worry as Laos signs up world-ranked tennis player for SEA Games

Philippines worry as Laos signs up world-ranked tennis player for SEA Games

Written by Ian Brion / Reporter   
Thursday, 11 June 2009 19:42

sports-03.jpgOFFICIALS of the Philippine Lawn Tennis Association (Philta) are not bothered by a report that Laos will enlist a world-ranked player in the 25th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games which it is hosting in December.           Philta vice president Randy Villanueva said that whether Anne Keothavong, currently England’s No.1 and 48th in the world, plays for Laos in the biennial meet, they remain confident the association can meet its target of surpassing its lone gold medal haul in Korat, Thailand, in 2007.

CECIL MAMIIT will again lead the RP campaign.

“We’re not worried about who other countries will field. Our athletes are playing well nowadays, and I believe that we have a strong chance in Laos,” said Villanueva.

The other day reports came out that Laos is trying to recruit foreign athletes with Laotian blood. That includes Keothavong, 26, who was born to Laotian parents who migrated to England years ago.

“Laos is serious in its bid to at least finish within the top five,” said POC deputy secretary-general Salvador Andrada, who received the report from his sources in the Sea Games tennis community.

Keothavong has won 17 International Tennis Federation singles titles and four in doubles. She also played in Grand Slam events like the Wimbledon and the US Open.

Filipino-American Cecil Mamiit ruled the men’s singles competition for the country’s lone tennis gold medal in 2007.

Villanueva said Philta has yet to come out with its official lineup for the SEA Games but the team will most likely be composed of Mamiit, another Filipino-American Treat Huey, homegrown talents PJ Tierro, Johnny Arcilla and Australian Open juniors doubles champion Francis Casey Alcantara. He added that they are also talking to former SEA Games gold medalist Riza Zalameda about her possible return to the national squad.

The 23-year-old Zalameda, who won the mixed gold with Cecil Mamiit in Manila Games 2005, has shown interest in donning the national colors anew in the Laos Games, slated from December 9 to 18.

“We’re just ironing out some kinks such as her schedule because she’s competing in the [Women’s Tennis Association] Tour. We’re also thinking of giving some support on her training.”



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