FOUR former Perlis tennis players were honoured during a welcoming dinner hosted by the Perlis government at the Warisan Negeri Hall in Kangar recently in conjunction with the 25th annual Tuanku Syed Putra Milo-Junior International tennis championships.
Brothers Andy Cheng Heng Kuan and Alfie Cheng Heng Koon, Afizal Abu Othman and Rosli Kassim each received a memento in recognition of their tennis achievements.
All of them except Alfie, who is in the United States, were present to receive the mementos from Perlis Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim.
All four had represented Malaysia in the Davis Cup competition between 1991 and 1996.
The presentation was made to highlight the success stories of the annual championships as all four had at one or another competed and triumphed in the tournament.
Andy, the elder of the Cheng siblings, represented Malaysia in 1991 and had also played for Furman University in the inter-varsities tournament in the US from 1989 to 1992.
Alfie played for Malaysia in the Davis Cup competition in 1996 and also represented Eastern Kentucky University in the US between 1993 and 1996.
Afizal played in the Davis Cup in 1994 and 1995 and also represented Malaysia in the SEA Games in 1993 and 1995.
Rosli was in the Davis Cup squad in 1993.
Tournament director and organi-sing secretary Cheng Joo Chong and organising committee treasurer Azmi Hashim, both of whom had been involved in the organisation of the tournament since its inception in 1981, were also presented with mementos.
More than 350 players and offi- cials from seven foreign countries, Bandar Penawar Sports School in Johor and all Malaysian states except Sabah and Malacca, were feted to a nice dinner.
In his speech, Shahidan said he was happy to be associated with a tour- nament that boasts to be one of the oldest of its kind in the region.
“It had also proved to be a good testing ground for national players like the Cheng siblings, Rafizal, V. Selvam and Rama (Ramachandran) as well Paradorn Srichaphan of Thailand who was ranked No 10 in the International Tennis Federation last year.
“The time is now ripe for our local tennis players to emulate the success of sports champions such as squash queen Nicol David
“We have not yet discovered a world champion in tennis. This is not impossible to achieve.
“Hard work, discipline, commitment and the burning desire to be the best can propel one to the pinnacle,” added Shahidan before declaring open the championships.
The countries and Malaysian states represented at the event with the number of players in brackets are: Thailand (36), South Korea (11), Singapore (seven), Philippines (six), Vietnam (five), Turkmenistan (one), Indonesia (one), Perlis (52), Negri Sembilan (40), Penang (35), Perak (25), Selangor (24), Terengganu (22), Sarawak (21), Kelantan (19), Kedah (11), Kuala Lumpur (11), Johor (nine), Bandar Penawar Sports School (six) and Pahang (five).
The tournament, which began on Sunday and ends tomorrow, is being held at the tennis courts of the Perlis Sports Complex in Kangar.