Chinese and Korean players dominated Division 1 of the ITF Asia 14 & under Development Championships staged for the first time at the Phu Tho Tennis Club in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on 15 - 27 March.
Zhuoma Ni Ma and Xiyu Wang won the girls’ singles titles for China in the first and second tournaments respectively, playing each other in both finals, before teaming up to win both girls’ doubles events. Korean Uisung Park defeated ITF team player, Hazem Naw, of Syria in the finals of the boys’ singles the first week, whilst his compatriots Seon Yong Han and Yeongseok Jeong won the boys’ doubles. Week two saw Adil Kalyanpur, of India defeat Han in the boys’ singles finals and the Chinese pairing of Yuefeng Di and Yuchen Wu take the doubles’ title.
China also lifted the challenge trophy being the top ranked nation ahead of Korea and India.
This championship attracted the best 14 and under Asian juniors from China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines,Thailand and host nation Vietnam. Players on the ITF Central Asian team came from Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan whilst the ITF Division 2 team consisted of players from Iran, Sri Lanka, Syria and Yemen.
The format of the event consists of two consecutive tournaments using a feed in consolation system in which all players have to play a single match each day, leading to a final overall ranking. Points are awarded for each tournament and added together at the end of the event, to provide the final ranking. This point ranking determines who will qualify to be on the ITF Team to participate in the next ITF development circuit as part of ITF's "pyramid of opportunity".
Suresh Menon, ITF Development Officer for Asia, was once again impressed with the excellent organisation of the event by the Ho Chi Minh City Tennis Federation. After having successlly organized the Division 2 championships for the last two years, the HCMCTF raised the bar to ensure that the Division 1 met all the standards and more. Team coaches were also impressed with the level of hospitality and organization with Indonesian team coach, Martin Setiawan, commenting: “this is my first time at this event and I am extremely impressed with the way the organizers were continully working daily to improve all aspects of the event. I look forward to coming back here again”.
In his closing ceremony address, Mr Nguyen Hoang Dung, Vice President and General Secretary of HCMTA stated, “Vietnam Tennis Federation was hononered to be given this opportunity to organize this premier Asian 14 & Under championships”. He thanked the ITF and especially the Grand Slam Development Fund for having the confidence in Vietnam Tennis Federation to host this event and was very impressed with the high level of tennis exhibited by the participants. He looked forward to the VTF having more opportunities to host such events in the future.