During the previous ITF/CAT East African Junior Teams’ Competition for 14 & 16 years and under, Uganda only registered one podium finish after the 14 & under boys team finished third. The rest of the teams, that is; 14 & under girls, 16 & under boys and girls all finished fourth in Kigali, Rwanda.
The Uganda junior tennis sides will seek to improve their display in this year’s edition of the tournament that is hosted by the Burundi Tennis Federation at Entente Sportive de Bujumbura Court surface. The showpiece will run from 7th January to 14th January 2023.
The players had extensive preparations for over one month under the stewardship of coaches Edward Odockcen and John Oduke.
“We hosted about 30 players from different academies for the national team qualifiers/trials. We later got three players per age group and later put them under serious training,” girls coach Edward Odockcen said during the teams’ flagg off on Wednesday in Kampala adding that the players also underwent S&C sessions as well as utilizing the services of a psychologist.
“We are really set this time and I believe we have never been this ready. With the preparations we have gotten, I am confident that we shall do our best to get more medals,” Odockcen added.
Boys coach John Oduke says that the teams (both boys and girls) are great and he is confident that there will be more than one podium finisher this time round.
“These are great players and I believe they will perform very well. Last time we had challenges in preparations but this time round we started preparing early and I believe the results will be good,” Oduke said.
In the build up to the tournament, the team that is kitted by Upenda Driving School also had talks with Cricket Cranes Coach, Laurence Mahatlane and National Rugby 7s and 15s star, Philip Wokorach. This year Emmanuel Oroma who is a Strength and Conditioning (S&C) coach and Edgar Kazibwe, a psychologist joined the team as Uganda Tennis Association seeks to build complete athletes.
The Bujumbura regional event is a qualifier for the African Junior Championship for 14 and 16 & under (AJC) scheduled for later this year.
The singles will be run over four full days using the fed-in system, thus allowing the competition to progress as normal but ensuring that every player win or lose, plays a match every day.
The 14 & Under individual tournament will count as a Grade 2 Tournament for the ITF/CAT circuit of 2023.
There will be open doubles events in both age groups. The doubles events will be run on a knock-out basis.
At the end of the Junior Championships, a final country ranking will be determined on the basis of accumulation of points in the boys’ and girls’singles and doubles events.
Boys 14 & Under: Abdul Latif Ssendyowa, Jonah Ssentongo and Cillian Ndilima.
Girls 14 & Under: Olivia Natukunda, Hilder Afwoyoroth and Abigail Nabasinga.
Boys 16 and under: Troy Zziwa, Nasser Ochom and Francis Agonzebwa.
Girls 16 & under: Maggie Flavia Namaganda, Edna Lovinsa Nabiryo and Abigail Nabasinga.
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