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LTAM skeptical over foreign players

Lawn Tennis Association of Malawi (LTAM) is unsure if this year’s Puma Malawi Open tennis championship will attract many foreign players following the recent sponsorship cut.

Puma Energy has reduced the sponsorship from K10 million to K5 million. Following the reduction, prize money allocation has also been affected as the winner in individual men’s category will receive K350,000 instead of K1 million.

In ladies singles, the champion will pocket K300,000, down from K1 million.

Last year’s Puma Malawi Open received massive participation as over 20 foreign players took part in the three-day championship. Players from DR Congo, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Zambia and Botswana lit up the competition.

LTAM general secretary, Christopher Kachale, said they were still hoping that more international players would, despite the cut in sponsorship, grace the competition.

“Of course, Malawian players would be happy if foreigners don’t come, but it will not be good for our sport. Maybe a few foreigners will come mainly from Zambia and Zimbabwe, but it is very unlikely that we will hit last year’s figure,” he said.

Senior player, Hackson Mwethiwa, who doubles as national coach, said international players help locals develop their game.

“Anyway, we are keeping our fingers crossed,” he said.

Meanwhile, LTAM has announced that the championship will be held at the Malawi National Tennis Centre at Country Club Limbe in Blantyre.

The competition will run from October 14 to 18 and international players will pay U$10 to register with locals paying K2,000.

Last year, Kenyan siblings Ismail and Shufaa Changawa dominated the event in men’s and ladies sections respectively.

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