Tennis has enjoyed a winning start to the year for Jordan’s up and comers who have returned from Thailand buoyant after some excellent results.
Competing in two Asian Championships second tier tournaments for Under 14s in Bangkok, Abdullah Shelbayeh picked up a pair of singles golds as well as a win in the doubles, while there was also a doubles title for Mohammad Al Kotob and Jana Al Khateeb who also reached the finals of singles. Randa Al Qudsi ranked seventh from the 35 players.
It has meant that the youngsters can now plan for life in the top tier, with an upcoming tournament in India to look forward to.
It has been pleasing to see for coach, Tariq Shekakhwa, who said that the best is yet to come with strong preparations in place to develop more young talent.
“It was valuable experience for our youngsters to compete against players from across Asia. This was the first time they have competed at this level so they did very well,” said Tariq.
There will be a short stop now in Amman before Mohammad, Jana and Randa head out to India for the Asian top tier event from January 28-February 12. Other commitments mean Abdullah will not be able to participate.
“The first level of the Asian Championships means they will come up against the best of their age from established tennis playing countries like China, South Korea and Uzbekistan, so it is a chance for us to get more experience.
“It won’t be easy as the competition will be very strong but this will enable us to learn and improve ready for the next time.”
The coach said that tennis is enjoying some success in terms of participation numbers of late with new young players coming to the sport.
And as for the players themselves? Well, they are just looking forward to testing themselves against the best.
Jana, 13, who has been playing since the age of nine, said: “The championship was very good and we benefited from it a lot. The level of the players was very high. I want to learn new things and to get more experience in India and of course I am looking to achieve good results, but realise it will be a lot harder.”
Mohammad Al Kotob, 11, praised the Tennis Federation for supporting him and added: “Tennis is a high class sport. I used to love watching it and my brother Mousa encouraged me to play since he is also a tennis player.”
Randa, 12, who said Novak Djokovic was her idol, added: “Tennis is my favorite sport and I am always trying to improve myself. It helps me in organising my study and my training so that I maintain the right balance.”
So while the year has started well for tennis, it seems there are just as many exciting times ahead!