ZIMBABWE’S top female tennis player Valeria Bhunu came short in her quest for a gold medal after suffering a 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 loss to South African Katie Poluta in the women’s singles tennis final at the African Union Sports Council Region 5 Under-20 Youth Games at the Bulawayo Athletic Club yesterday.
South Africa got gold in the men’s single with François Kellerman beating Malawian Lumeta Chisomo (silver) 6-1, 2-6, 6-3.
The tournament’s top seed in the tournament, Zimbabwe’s Ronzai Saurombe, picked up bronze after beating Kukutla Motlojoa of Lesotho 6-2, 6-3 in the men’s third place play-off.
Another Zimbabwean, Rufaro Chirewa, grabbed bronze in the women’s singles, beating South African Caitlin Herb 3-6, 7-5, 10-8.
The top seeded Bhunu, who was favourite to win the women’s competition, said she could have done better blaming her defeat on lack of practice. Poluta applauded the way the tournament is being run in Zimbabwe after the medal awards ceremony.
“Thank you to everyone who made this possible,” she said.
“The surfaces are great.
Thank you for hosting a great tournament.”
Her sentiments were echoed by Association of Southern African Tennis president Nelson Amanze who is the Confederation of African Tennis vice-chairman.
“We had the highest level of competition in Zimbabwe,” he said.
“Well done to the players who won and those who did not make it to the podium, there is 2016 in Angola.”
Competition manager Petros Ndlovu also paid tribute to spectators who have been closely following the tournament.