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ITF East Pacific Qualifying 2012 Tournament plays out despite rain

With the on and off rain throughout the week, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) East Pacific Qualifying 2012 Tournament was still played despite the bad weather, as it did not dampen the spirits of these young Junior (18 & under) tennis players. The tournament was held this past week at the Lions Park Tennis Courts with American Samoa, Samoa and Tonga bringing their best Junior tennis players to compete.

The top 14 players of the tournament have been selected and will soon be preparing to represent the East Pacific next month at the Pacific Oceania Junior Championship (POJC) in Fiji from August 6-10. Despite strong play from both the visiting Samoa and Tonga teams, American Samoa was still able to earn the most spots on the East Pacific Team team that will travel to Fiji next month, as they will be leading the team with ten players, while Samoa earned three spots, with Tonga earning one.

The team that was chosen to represent the East Pacific next month in the POJC are:

Christopher Sami-American Samoa (Boys 18 & under), Christian Duchnak - American Samoa (Boys 18 & under), Leilani Duchnak - American Samoa (Girls 18 & under), Loloma Ripley-Samoa (Girls 18 & under).

Kevin Maukoloa - American Samoa (Boys 15 & under), Carlos Ah Ching-American Samoa (Boys 15 & under), Anastasia Tapusoa - Samoa (Girls 15 & under), Kalani Soli - American Samoa (Girls 15 & under).

Harley Cronin-Samoa (Boys 12 & under), Larry Magalasin - American Samoa (Boys 12 & under), Michelle Miller-American Samoa (Girls 12 & under), Blanchie Herrera - American Samoa (Girls 12 & under), Skylawn Palelei - Tonga (Girls 12 & under), Kekoa Vaefa - American Samoa (Girls 12 & under).

Samoa News spoke with ITF Development Officer for the Pacific Oceania Region Gene Ridgway, on his take of how the tournament went off. “Everything went as smooth as possible despite the weather. The host nation has been fantastic. All of the players have been very patient,” said Ridgway.

“The host kids have always been out there on the courts cleaning them after every rain getting us ready to play. I want to give a big thank you to them. I want to also thank Billy Young (President of the American Samoa Tennis Federation) and Tino Roberts (Head Coach of the American Samoa Team) for running and organizing the tournament. Thank you to everyone who was here at the tournament and despite the weather, I think everything went off great,” he said.

After the POJC next month in Fiji, there will be another selection of players made, that will be the Oceania Team that will be playing against New Zealand and Australia. The West Pacific Qualifying 2012 Tournament was held back in May in Lautoka, Fiji, while the North Pacific Qualifying 2012 Tournament was completed in June in Guam. Now the Junior tennis players representing the East Pacific, West Pacific and North Pacific will meet next month in Fiji to compete in the POJC.