The New Times (Kigali)

15 November 2012

Rwanda: ITF Men's Futures Lands Sponsorship

THE second and third leg of the ITF Men's Futures tournament have received major sponsorship boost from the Ministry of Sportsand Culture and Heineken.

The second leg tournament is set to start on Monday in Kigali at Cercle Sportif and expected to attract over 50 foreign players.

Rwanda Tennis Federation chairman Theoneste Karenzi confirmed that they have received sponsorship worth Rwf15 million from the Ministry of Sports and Rwf6 million from Heineken.

Mille Collines Hotel will offer accommodation to officials and players, while the International Tennis Federatiom (ITF) has injected $6600 (Rwf4.1 million).

"We are still expecting more support from other sponsors to top up our budget which is over Rwf30 million," said Karenzi, adding that, as organizers, they are doing their best to make the two tournaments a big success.

Rwanda's hunt for the top prize will be led by top seeds Jean Claude Gasigwa and Dieudonne Habiyambere, who suffered first round exits from the ongoing first leg tournament in Bujumbura, Burundi.

The likes of Mathieu Uwizeyimana, Mubarak Harelimana, Olivier Nkunda, Hamisi Gatete and Anatole Bizimana have to go through the gruelling qualifying stage.

With an ATP ranking of 292, Australia's Melzer Gerard will be the highest ranked player on show when the first leg gets underway on November 19.

Italy's Alessandro Bega (488) and the Egyptian pair of Sherif Sabry (514) and Karim-Mohamed Maamoun (560) are the other players in the top 600.

Last year, the qualifying round proved too much for local players; Gatete lost to Switzerland's Lucas Zweili 1-6 0-6; Nkunda fell to Spencer Feldman of the USA 0-6 2-6 while Harelimana lost to Nigeria's Samuel Omoile 0-6 2-6.

It was not any different in the main draw where Ross-Hurt Dominic of Great Britain edged Gasigwa 6-3 7-5 while Habiyambere also lost in straight sets against South Africa's Ruan Roelofse.

The second leg is slated to run from November 19 -25 followed by the third leg from November 26 - December 2.

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