Namibia make a clean sweep of tennis titlesBy: HELGE SCHUTZ
NAMIBIA made a clean sweep of the tennis competition at the 2012 Cucsa Games, winning all five the titles on offer.
Johan de Witt won the men’s singles title yesterday, after his opponent in the final, Kondwani Gondwe of Zambia had to withdraw due to an injury, while Riekie Honiball beat compatriot Teri Olivier 6-1, 6-0 in the women’s final.
On Wednesday, Namibia’s Nandi Jordaan and Teri Olivier teamed up to win the women’s doubles title after beating Pauline Phiri and Rosemary Banda of Zimbabwe 63, 6-1 in the final.
In the men’s doubles final, Namibia’s Henco Serdyn and Jonathan Edmunds beat Kondwani Gondwe and Fitchard Molenga of Zambia 6-1, 7-6.
Namibia also won the Mixed Doubles title when Johann de Witt and Rikie Honiball beat Kondwani Gondwe and Florence Bwalya 6-0, 6-2.
Namibia were the overall winners of the tennis tournament, followed by Zambia and Zimbabwe. The other competing nations were Botswana and Malawi.
The men’s singles final was evenly contested with De Witt and Gondwe matching each other stroke for stroke.
The match went according to serves, and while De Witt had the stronger serve, Gondwe matched him with some stunning ground shot returns.
The players were level at 4-4 when it became obvious that Gondwe was in discomfort and not serving at full strength.
De Witt broke his serve for the first time and then served out to win the first set 6-4, but Gondwe could not continue due to an elbow injury and retired from the match.
De Witt said he was proud to have won the title for his country although he was not happy with the circumstances.
“I’m am happy that I won the title for my country, but it’s sad that Kondwani had to retire. He’s a very good player and the first set was very close,” he said.
De Witt, who recently represented Namibia at the Davis Cup Africa Group III competition in Tunisia, said it took him a while to get used to Namibia’s fast courts.
“In Tunisia we played on clay courts which were much slower so I was a bit nervous and “ he said.
De Witt said it was an important tournament and that he was proud of representing his country.
“Every title is important, especially if you are representing your country, so I’m proud of my achievements,” he said.
Riekie Honiball easily beat Teri Jacobs 6-0, 6-1 in the final but said that the match was not as easy as the scoreline suggested.
“The final was not very easy and I must say, Teri has improved a lot, but my experience counted in the end,” she said.
“It was a good opportunity to represent Namibia,” she said.
Honiball recently returned to Namibia after completing her studies at Miami University in the United States where she was on a tennis scholarship. She has represented Namibia in the Federations Cup and last year competed at the All Africa Games.
Olivier has represented Namibia at junior level and is currently a first year student at Stellenbosch University.
The tournament convenor Kallie Heese said it was the strongest team that Namibia had yet entered for the Cucsa Games, but expressed disappointment at the poor turnout of countries.
“This is the strongest team that we have ever entered for the Cucsa Games, and they created history by winning all the titles. But I’m disappointed with the low turnout – only five countries competed, while strong countries like South Africa and Mozambique did not come,” he said.