13 December 2006

Namibia Mourns the Deaths of Tennis Star Sisters

Windhoek — The Namibia Sports Commission (NSC) Chief Administrator, Rusten Mogane, says he was deeply shocked to learn of the death of Namibia's rising tennis star sisters, Suzelle and Janine Davin. Mogane said their deaths are a great loss to the Namibian sporting fraternity, and a still greater loss to the parents and family members of these two talented sports stars.

He noted that his office was still trying to come to terms with this enormous loss just at the beginning of the festive season. The two sisters died in a car accident in Swakopmund early Friday evening. Earlier reports stated that Suzelle, 18, and Janine, 19, died after a head-on collision and that a friend who accompanied them had suffered light injuries.

They were well-known for their sporting achievements in South Africa and Namibia, with both excelling in tennis and hockey. Suzelle was crowned Namibia's Junior Sportswoman of the Year in October for her prowess in tennis, while Suzelle was Namibia's top junior and senior female tennis player.

This year, Suzelle represented Namibia at the African Junior Championships in Egypt where she lost in the semi-finals and ended as the third-ranked player in Africa.

In the same month, Suzelle represented Namibia's senior women's team at the Federation Cup tournament in Turkey, where Namibia came fifth out of 14 countries in the Europe/Africa Zone Group 3 category.

In July, Suzelle became the first Namibian to qualify for the main draw at the Wimbledon Junior Singles tournament in England. Only the top 64 players in the world qualify to participate in this prestigious tournament. Suzelle won her first round match, but then lost to a Russian player in the second round.

Janine was Namibia's star during the 2005 Hockey Africa Cup of Nations when she scored two goals to hand Namibia bronze in the senior competition.

According to News24-Web site, the girls' heartbroken father, Herman Davin, said: "Friends who recognized my car, phoned us to tell us there had been a terrible accident. We tried to reach them on their cellphones, but there was no answer. When we arrived at the scene, Netcare emergency staff told us that one of them had died, but we didn't know which one."

According to Davin, the three were on their way from Swakopmund to Snake Beach at about 18h00 on Friday to meet their parents after a golfing event. The accident happened about 5km from their home.

Janine died instantly and Suzelle was admitted to the Walvis Bay Hospital but was later that same night taken by helicopter to the Catholic Hospital in Windhoek.

After 24 hours, the doctors declared Suzelle brain-dead.

The two teenage sisters and their friend, 21-year-old Gere Maree, were apparently on holiday after Suzelle had completed her matric at Bloemhof Girls' High School. Janine had just finished her first year as a B.Sc student in molecular biology and psychology at the University of Stellenbosch.

Suzelle, who had received a tennis bursary from the University of Iowa, would have left for the United States on January 9, 2007.

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