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From 8-11 December 2016, the BISP RPT Tennis Academy at British International School, Phuket (BISP) had 21 children competing in the annual FOBISIA Tennis Tournament, this year held jointly by Bangkok Harrow and Bangkok Patana.

Altogether there were 17 schools from across Asia taking part, with  262 players competing in six age group events.

Under 11 Girls saw BISP players Nathalie Wilewski, Eloise Stockings and India Mclean-High taking part. All girls can be pleased with their performances considering this was one of the first times that they have competed outside of BISP.

All girls won at least one match, but unfortunately did not make it through to the quarter finals. With more competition experience and work on certain areas of their games, they could easily turn some of the close defeats into victories.

Meanwhile Anzac, Timofei, Mathis, Vichi, Chris and Att all represented BISP in the Under 11 Boys category. Each player was placed in one of eight round robin groups with only the first-placed player progressing to the quarter finals.

Anzac, Vichi, Chris and Timofei were comfortable group winners by winning all round robin groups to progress to the last eight.  Mathis just missed out on a quarter final place by losing one match and winning four, Att also did well but missed out with two defeats from his four matches.

In the last eight BISP had four players and unfortunately three of them were drawn in the same half of the draw. Chris had to play Vichi with Vichi progressing to the semi finals to meet Anzac who also progressed. Timofei lost an extremely close quarter final to an eventual finalist 3-4 and 6-8 in the deciding tiebreaker.

Vichi beat Anzac to progress to the final and to take first place with a 6-1 victory and losing only his first single game in the whole competition. Anzac won the 3rd place playoff with another comfortable 6-0 victory. Therefore BISP took first and third place, but with a more favourable draw would have seen BISP players take all top four spots.

“It was very pleasing to see how strong we were in this age group,” said BISP RPT Tennis Academy Head Coach Lee Austrin. “With many more players that couldn’t make the trip, and also a new crop coming through from Years 1 to 3 that were too young to take part this time around, it looks like we might dominate this age group for years to come.”

The Under 13 Girls event saw Jazzmin, Charlotte and Prae taking part. Jazzmin was placed in a round robin group of five players and Charlotte and Prae in groups of six players.

Charlotte was unfortunate not to win a match but played always with a smile on her face and represented BISP with real class, while Prae did very well to place third in her group, only losing to some very strong players.

Jazzmin had four fairly close matches but won them all to progress to the quarter finals. In the quarter finals it was a step too far for Jazzmin but she gained valuable experience in losing out to the eventual finalist. Charlotte and Prae still have another year to compete in this age group.

Meanwhile, the Under 13 Boys had Hayden, Robin, Mistral, Kai and Chathu competing. This was the biggest event of the competition with 67 players taking part.

Robin, Mistral and Kai put in some fighting performances and were unlucky not to get more wins, however they showed how far they have come by just being able to compete at this level.

Hayden had a tough group and played some good aggressive tennis before missing out on a quarter final place with two wins and two losses. Chathu was comfortable winner of his group and easily progressed to the quarter finals where he also won comfortably to make it to the semi finals.

In the semi finals Chathu was up against a very strong opponent who was 18 months older than him. He put in a brave performance but was overpowered by the eventual champion, however he easily won the third place playoff to take bronze for BISP. Like his brother Vichi, Chathu still has another year to play in this age group.

The Under 15 girls had Tara and Oshini representing BISP. Both girls played some great matches with Oshini progressing to the quarter finals as first in her group, with Tara also progressing as the highest scoring second place in any group.

For Tara it was a step too far but something she must learn from and gain experience: with more competition she will soon be able to progress further in events. Oshini also lost out in the quarter finals to the eventual finalist 6-2. She was the aggressor but made too many unforced errors in her third match of the day.

Both girls should be pleased with their performances, which drew in the crowds and received many good comments from spectators. They also conducted themselves with class and professionalism, and were a real credit to our school.

Lastly, the Under 15 Boys saw Michael Larsson and James Marshall competing in their first competition away from school and against a strong field.

Both boys did extremely well and both won matches, while in their losses they competed strongly and never gave in. They should be pleased with their efforts and also the way they supported our younger players. They should have learnt a lot from this experience and will now go on to compete in many more competitions, as they are certainly ready.

“Overall this event was a success for the BISP RPT Tennis Academy,” said Coach Lee, “and there were many positive comments from parents and coaches from other schools and also enquiries from parents of other schools for their players to trial for our tennis programme.

“Almost all of our players have another year left to play in the same age groups, and hopefully in the future they can get over the next hurdle to progress further in the draws.

“It was also a shame that we lost both Kevin and Turquoise late on and they were unable to take part in the event, as they would have definitely progressed far. Also we missed James van Herzeele due to him competing in Europe, otherwise we may have had more success stories to tell.

“I would like to thank all the players for their outstanding behaviour and great tennis that they showed on the court,” added Coach Lee. “For a programme that is not even two years-old yet, it is a real credit to the players that they have improved so much and now have a skill in tennis that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

“I would also like to thank Mr Lamantia, Mrs Gates and Coach Rachna for being so professional during this trip and supporting all the players throughout. The days were long for the staff, getting up at 5am and sometimes not getting back to the hotel until 11pm, all to ensure that the players were well prepared and had an enjoyable time during this event.

“The logistics and sheer size of this event made it very difficult  to ensure players were fed at the correct times and also got enough rest but with such dedicated staff it was made possible. A big thank you to all.

“Last but not least, I would like to thank the parents that attended for supporting where needed and giving us only positive comments throughout. Also to all the tennis coaches at BISP for helping to prepare the players for this competition and also keeping things going back at school. Well done to all.”

Learn more about the BISP RPT Tennis Academy at www.bisphuket.ac.th/tennis, follow the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/tennisphuket, or contact Head Coach Lee Austrin at: [email protected]