Tennis sisters having big year

Normal, Sports

The National, Wednesday, June 8th 2011

TERE-Apisah sisters Abigail, 18, and Marcia, 15, have continued their remarkable progress this year as two of Oceania’s most promising tennis prospects.
Marcia, who turns 16 next month, recently won the 2010 junior female athlete of the year award at the SP Sports Awards and is currently training and playing in Suva, Fiji, where she attends Lautoka High School on a tennis scholarship.
She was set to defend the junior female singles title she won last year at the Fiji Open, however, lost in the quarter-finals.
The open (June 2-6) will be followed by a stint in Noumea begining Saturday where she will go on to play in the New Caledonia Open.
Marcia will also be defending the NC junior singles title she won last year.
Her tennis scholarship is funded by a grant from the PNG Sports Federation and Olympic Committee in conjunction with assistance from Oceania Tennis Federation.
Father Kwalam Apisah said these tournaments would help improve Marcia’s  world ranking in the U18 category.
Meanwhile, older sibling Abigail is making waves of her own in the US after securing a sports scholarship to Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia in the American southeast.
Abigail had previously attended senior highschool at Albury Highschool in Victoria, Australia, while a member of the Margaret Court tennis academy last year.
In her freshman year at GSU, Abigail has proven her ability not just on the court winning a raft of awards but also excelling academically as well.
Her sporting achievements at GSU include : being named the most outstanding performer at the Colonial Athletic Association Women’s Tennis Championship; earning a CAA  doubles ranking of 46 in American college tennis; making the all-conference first team; and being named CAA rookie of the year.
“Abigail has been a great addition to the team and is a great building block for where the team wants to be in the future,” head coach Miha Lisac said of Abigail’s MOP award.
“She really deserves this honor and stepped up her game in conference.”
She is currently ranked 55 in women’s singles in the Inter-collegiate Tennis Association (ITA).
But perhaps the most impressive accomplishment yet for Port Moresby-raised lass was being one of five members of the GSU women’s tennis team to be honoured by the institution on the dean’s list honour roll for for the semester.
Abigail is currently on  semester break in New York but will return to GSU later this month.
Capping off a fruitful year she is expected to represent PNG at the Pacific Games in August after having got the endorsement of her coaches at GSU with NCAA (National Collegiate Athletics Association) approval expected.
Both sisters showed promise early on and were put on tennis development programmes with Kwalam saying they had gone from strength to strength having started playing tennis at young ages.
“Abigail left PNG as a 10-year-old to the Oceania Tennis Federation in Fiji and then went on to Albury and now she’s in the US while Marcia is also following in her big sister’s footsteps,” he said.