TENNIS star Mehluli Sibanda had one of his best outings yesterday when he claimed a gold medal in the singles matches at the African Union Sports Council Region Five Under-20 Youth Games in Gaborone, Botswana. It was also a good day on the court for Beverly Matsiwe in the girls section when she got silver after losing to South Africa’s Dellen Kleinhansis 3-6, 1-6 in the final.
Sibanda beat Robbie Arends of South Africa in straight sets 6-3, 6-2 in the finals to claim Zimbabwe’s first gold at the regional Games.
Tennis coach Linsent Chitiyo was pleased with the outcome, pointing out that there has been quite some improvement from Sibanda since his last participation in the Region Five Games in Angola, in 2016.
“Indeed good progress looking at the last AUSC Region Five Games in Angola, Mehluli won bronze and this time around he got gold. And him being (the reigning) Junior Sportsman for the ANSA its good progress.
“Beverly being a first timer at the Games and getting silver is a huge progress,” said Chitiyo.
Chitiyo said it has not been easy and appreciates the effort by the players.
“The countries came prepared for these Games looking at all the seeded players, they have international ranking. The quality of matches was very high.
“We are very appreciative of the consistent tactical discipline executed by the players throughout the past matches and support from our country and team administration,’ said Chitiyo.
On his way to the finals, Sibanda overpowered Nhavane Bruno of Mozambique 7-5, 6-3 while Matsiwe prevailed over Tsiang Tshego 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in a match that stretched to the third set as Matsiwe made a strong comeback after losing the first set.
Sibanda and Matsiwe’s exploits come after the swimming team has also had a good outing and by yesterday they had managed 10 bronze medals.
Zimbabwe also have the netball team, football girls, athletics and athletics for the visually impaired taking part in the Youth Games.