COPPERBELT province at the weekend dominated the Lusaka Open Tennis Championship, winning 11 medals out of the available 20 in a tournament that attracted more than 80 participants.
Mufulira and Kantanshi Tennis Clubs were the biggest winners with five gold medals and the majority of the silver medals.
Leading the pack were twins Isabel and Christabel Chisongo from Mufulira who won a gold and silver medals respectively in the U-20 girls category in the championship played at Lusaka Tennis Club.
Isabel beat her sister Christabel 2-0 with set scores 6/2,6/2 in an entertaining final that saw the crowd in the terraces give the duo a standing ovation at the end of the game.
Speaking in an interview after being crowned champion Isabel described the victory over her sister as sweet and dream come true.
“It’s a good feeling winning the category especially winning it against my own sister. The match itself was tough but I had no option but to beat her because I really needed to win a gold medal and be crowned overall champion of the category,” said Isabel.
To progress to the finals Isabel beat Ireen Lungu of Lusaka with set scores 6/3,6/3 while Christabel progressed after seeing off competition from Chileshe Mwale whom she beat with scores 6/2,6/3.
In the U-14 boys’ category, Malambo Mulenga of Kantanshi was crowned Champion after he beat Edgar Kalunga of Mufulira with set scores 6/3, 3/6, 6/2 while in the girls’ category, Tony Ngulube was crowned champion after edging Blessings Nyirenda with set scores 6/3,6/4.
In the Under-18 category, Margret Chola won a gold medal after beating Mercy Talasha of Lusaka with set scores 6/5,6/2 while in the Under-12 category Chola Kamwanga beat Kayla Muimo of Lusaka with scores 6/3,6/3 in the final.
Others from the Copperbelt winning a gold included Natasha Chewe who edged Natasha Nalungwe with scores 6/0, 6/0.
And the rest of the categories were won by players from Lusaka who got four gold medals in the boys’ category.
Dickson Phiri of Lusaka won the U-20 category after he beat Jordan Mwale of Kantanshi with scores 6/4,6/2 while Salvador Mordnell won the U-16 category after edging Albert Nawa of Kantanshi.
In the boys’ U-18 category, Nawa Hamayangwe from Lusaka won the category after he beat Richard Simbaya of Kantanshi 2-0 with set scores 6/0,6/2 while the other gold medal for Lusaka came in the U-16 category through Nastasha Chipulu.
Kantanshi coach Leevan Kunda said the players deserve the medals as they worked hard for them.
He said his team and players from Mufulira camped in Lusaka for two weeks to prepare for the tournament.
“They deserve the medals because they have been training in Lusaka for almost two weeks. We want to thank Mopani for sponsoring the outing and ensuring that the players take part in the tournament. We have a lot of talent that if well supported, Zambia can produce the best players that can win us medals,” said Kunda.
And speaking during the prize presentation ceremony, Zambia Tennis Association(ZTA) president Gibson Phiri said he is happy with the level of competition that the players exhibited.
The event which was organised by the ZTA South, was also being used to pick a team for the Africa Region Five Games which will be held in Malawi, in December.