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Coronavirus: Ugandan tennis players put dreams on hold

By Shafik Ssenoga

Added 3rd April 2020 12:56 PM

The likes of Sandra Nhissa, Mariam Etiang and Judith Nalukwago had gone through trials for the Fed Cup Europe/Africa III event.

Coronavirus: Ugandan tennis players put dreams on hold

The coronavirus pandemic has affected sports around the world, including tennis. (AFP)

The likes of Sandra Nhissa, Mariam Etiang and Judith Nalukwago had gone through trials for the Fed Cup Europe/Africa III event.

TENNIS

Uganda is among the nations that had international tennis engagements this year. Then came the coronavirus pandemic!

The men's and women's teams were due to take part in the Davis Cup Africa Zone and Fed Cup in Congo Brazzaville and Lithuania, respectively. Ugandan tennis players will have to put their dreams on pause after the two events were suspended by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) due to the coronavirus crisis.

Sporting events around the world have either been postponed or cancelled. Tennis has not been spared. Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since the Second World War.

ITF president David Haggerty said sports is in "uncharted territory" and that "protecting the health and well-being of all those involved in tennis as well as the wider public has been and remains our priority".

Here in Uganda, the likes of Sandra Nhissa, Mariam Etiang and Judith Nalukwago had gone through trials for the Fed Cup.

Four out of 10 players were supposed to be picked to represent Uganda at the Europe/Africa III event of the Fed Cup by BNP Paribas in Vilnius, Lithuania.

The other female players are Jovia Nakayenga, Evelyn Ochom, Evelyn Chimolo, Melonie Nahirya, Maggie Namaganda, Winnie Birungi and Patience Athieno.

 imbledon was cancelled for the first time since Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since WWII

 

As many as 27 European and African teams are to take part in this Fed Cup regional competition that was supposed to start in June.

The other 26 teams are: Algeria, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Herzegovina, Botswana, Congo, Cyprus, Gabon, Ghana, Iceland, Ireland, Kosovo, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malta, Mauritius, Montenegro, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Norway, Rwanda, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, one the men's side, David Oringa, Simon Ayella, Borris Aguma and Frank Tayebwa had already qualified for the Davis Cup by the time of the suspension.

While he is disappointed with the postponement, Oringa maintains he and his compatriots cannot let their guard down.

"We shall need to work extra hard if we are to compete favourably when the competition gets under way. It is sad that the games will not be held in June as earlier planned - due to this pandemic - considering we had put in a lot in terms of training," he said.

Coach Edward Odocken is concerned that the development will take his team a couple of strides back.

"My worry is we might have to start from scratch as we wait for the situation to calm down. But to be heathy is more important than anything else.

"We pray that this situation gets back to normal in the quickest time possible," said Odocken.

"We have cautioned these players to do personal training to remain fit. We also advised them to be safe and avoid crowded places."


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