By Lim Yong Teck/Red Sports

SEA Junior Championships Ethan Lye

Ethan Lye of Singapore plays a forehand against Philippines during their Under-14 singles round robin match on day 6 of the SEA Junior Championships. (Photo 1 © Lim Yong Teck/Red Sports)

Kallang Tennis Centre, October 21-26, 2014 — The Singapore national under-16 team of Nicole Tan, Goh Yee Loon, Sherwin Foo and Shaheed Alam were the best-performing age-group team when they won three out of their four match-ups at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Junior Championships. While the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Finals went on, 12 of Singapore’s best junior tennis players got a chance to showcase their talents.

Jointly organized by the Singapore Tennis Association (STA) and Sport Singapore (SportSG), the team-based tournament attracted a total of 64 players representing six countries. The players competed in three age categories – Under-12, Under-14 and Under-16.

Exposure to higher-level competition was a highlight for the local players. 14-year-old Ashley Yim, who had also competed in the WTA Future Stars event earlier last week, said, “It’s very exciting to play in such tournaments, against the better players from other countries and see where we stand,” said the Singapore Sports School student.

Ethan Lye, who is pursuing full-time studies at the McDonald College in Sydney, Australia, flew home so he could represent Singapore in the tournament.

The 13-year-old said, “Everyone’s pretty talented and it’s a great experience to play against players from other countries. Singapore has a lot of talent, and it’s good that there is an increasing interest in the sport now. I like the improvements and that sports is growing in Singapore.”

For 16-year-old Shaheed Alam, the exposure was useful with the 2015 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games hosted by Singapore approaching.

The Singapore Sports School student said, “In preparation for the SEA Games next year, it is also good. That (qualifying for the SEA Games team) is my main goal for next year. I really, really, really hope to play in the SEA Games.”

There were friends and family supporting at the competition. One of them was Yim’s father, Ben Yim. He said, “It’s very good for our local players when you bring such competitions to our shore. To be able to play against respectable players from around the region would be of great value to the younger players.”

“For the young ones, it is also beneficial as friendships can be forged with regional players of their age group, and I think that that is the most important takeaway from such tournaments,” added the older Yim.

Competition manager Gilbert Ng said, “The matches are of high quality, and the players are enjoying themselves. This is good for Singapore Tennis, as our younger players can then realize where they stand in the region and drive them to perform better.

“Bringing WTA in is good for Singapore, as more people will get to know more about the sport. Many will start tennis if they have yet to start; many will start replaying tennis if they have stopped. The whole event has driven the interest for the sport, and that is good for us.”

Under-12 Team
Girls: Clare Cheng and Joelle Goh
Boys: Admad Naqib and Jay Tan

Under-14 Team
Girls: Charmaine Seah and Ashley Yim
Boys: Ethan Lye and Shaun Ng

Under-16 Team
Girls: Nicole Tan and Goh Yee Loon
Boys: Sherwin Foo and Shaheed Alam

Singapore vs Malaysia: 1–2
Singapore vs Thailand: 0–3
Singapore vs Vietnam: 3–0
Singapore vs Indonesia: 0–3
Singapore vs Philippines: 0–3

Singapore vs Indonesia: 0–3
Singapore vs Malaysia: 1–2
Singapore vs Vietnam: 3–0
Singapore vs Philippines: 0–3

Singapore vs Vietnam: 3–0
Singapore vs Malaysia: 2–1
Singapore vs Philippines: 3–0
Singapore vs Indonesia: 0–3

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