Dubai: Abdullah Al Ahli and Omar Al Bastaki will be the UAE’s two representatives as serious beach tennis enters the UAE with the hosting of the inaugural BT10 UAE ITF Beach Tennis this weekend.
Organised by the UAE Tennis Federation (UAE TF) in cooperation with Empower Sports Services Company and under the supervision of the International Tennis Federation (ITF), the inaugural edition will be held on Friday at the beachfront of Al Habtoor Grand Resort Dubai along the Mina Seyahi coastline.
One of the latest members of the Tennis Beach Committee of the ITF, the organisation of the beach tennis tournament coincides with the 49th UAE National Day celebrations.
As many as 25 teams, including 16 in the men’s section and another nine in the women’s category, have confirmed their participation in this inaugural competition. The main competition in the doubles will be held on Friday followed by the mixed doubles the following day.
Nasser Yousuf Al Marzouqi, General Secretary, UAE TF appreciated the joint effort put in by Empower Sports Services and Al Habtoor Hotels Group for supporting hosting and organising the tournament. “The ultimate goal is to have a team that will represent the UAE at the international level,” Al Marzouqi said.
“We have been blessed with such a beautiful coastline, and there is no doubt there will be challenges while hosting a new competition like this one. But, our goal is to follow our Government guidelines that push us to promote sports at all levels while utilising sport as a medium of portraying the UAE on the international stage,” he added.
The UAE will be represented by a team consisting of Al Ahli and Al Bastaki, both proven tennis players. “For us it is an honour to be part of the first beach tennis team representing our country especially as this event coincides with the UAE National Day celebrations,” Al Bastaki told Gulf News.
“With the pandemic situation under control, we have been able to put in some training as a team. But the real test will come up when we face the other teams. This competition will show us how far we have come in this sport here in the UAE,” he added.
Louis Posner and his partner Edwin Marc Hsing representing the Caribbean Sea island of Aruba with a combined 230 points and the Jordanian-Tunisian pair of Sami Al Sayyed and Yousuf Ayed have received a direct acceptance in the main draw of the men’s section.
In the women’s section, Dania Abu Zeid of Canada and Marta Apraiz of Spain have a direct acceptance with 93 points, and will be joined by the pairing of Safaa Bahman of Morocco and Sofia Govorusa of Great Britain as the top two pairings.