Seychelles won two medals – a gold in the boys’ doubles and a silver in the boys’ singles –in the 2016 East African Junior Tennis Championship and qualified two players for the Africa Junior Championship.
Damien Laporte was the country’s top player at the tournament as he teamed up with Theo Barois to win the under-14 boys’ doubles gold medal, but he lost the under-14 boys’ singles final.
Laporte has now qualified for the Africa Junior Championship set for March in Pretoria, South Africa and he will be accompanied by Shaun Andriamaro who was ranked sixth in the under-16 boys’ singles category.
The top six players in the boys’ and girls’ under-16 and under-14 categories qualify for the Africa Junior Championship.
At the end of the week-long event which attracted eight nations at the Nairobi Club, Kenya won the team title of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and Confederation of African Tennis (CAT) 2016 Eastern African Junior Circuit to reclaim the overall team title from Burundi who finished second. Seychelles finished fourth.
In the under-14 boys’ doubles final, Laporte and Barois beat a Kenyan pair 2-0 (6-4, 6-4) to win the gold medal.
They won their first three games 2-0 (6-0, 6-1) against Kenya, 2-0 (6-1, 6-2) and 2-0 (6-1, 6-0) against two Rwandan duos before beating a team from Burundi 2-0 (6-4, 6-0) in the semifinal.
In the under-14 boys’ singles, Laporte won his group matches 2-0 (6-1, 6-0) and 2-0 (6-0, 6-0) to make it to the quarterfinal where he eliminated a Tanzanian on a 2-0 (6-1, 6-1) score. In the semifinal he met a Sudanese and he again triumphed 2-0 (6-0, 6-2).
During the last final on centre court, Laporte took on Kenyan Ryan Randiek and a win for him would have denied Kenya the chance to claim the team title, but he lost the nail biting final 1-2 (3-6, 7-6, 0-6).
Barois is ranked 10th out of 16 players in the under-14 boys’ singles after getting three wins in five games, while Andriamaro took the last Africa Junior Championship qualifying spot in the under-16 boys’ singles after being ranked sixth in a field of 16 players. He played six matches, winning three out of six matches played.
Andriamaro was paired with a Kenyan player in the under-16 boys’ doubles and they lost all their three games.
Seychelles was also represented at the tournament by Aneesh Ramani, Sreysht Venkatakrishnan (boys’ under 12) and Dawn Rene (girls’ under 16).
In the under-12 boys’ singles, Ramani won two of his four matches to finish 10th out of 16 players, while Venkatakrishnan took ninth position after getting four wins including one against Ramani in the five matches played.
The two players teamed up for the doubles and they claimed just one win against Kenya in three games.
As for Rene, she settled for eighth place out of nine players in the under-16 girls’ singles after getting one win in four games.
She also played the doubles with a Sudanese as partner and they weren’t lucky as they lost all their four matches.
The players were accompanied by coach Sheryl Youpa.
The eight countries who were represented at the tournament are Burundi, Comoros, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Seychelles and hosts Kenya.