Zoleta, netters seek 5 golds

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF BIEN ZOLETA / FB BIEN Zoleta and the national soft tennis team are looking to make their presence felt in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games.

The national soft tennis team vows to chip in five gold medals when it sees action in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Phnom Penh that formally open this Friday.

Confident in their thorough preparation, including a 17-day training camp in Sunchang, South Korea, two-time SEA Games gold medalist Bien Zoleta is confident that they would deliver in the return of the sport in the biennial meet.

“In our training camp, we played against Korean teams there. Korea is considered the top team in soft tennis,” Zoleta told Daily Tribune in a phone conversation.

“We didn’t just focus on the technical side in Sunchang but also coming up with smart plays and how to play inside the court, especially in the crucial moments.”

The Nationals look to surpass their three gold and one bronze medal haul in the 30th edition of the Games in Manila –- the last time the sport was staged in the regional sports meet.

Soft tennis games will be played from 6 to 10 May at the Soft Tennis Complex of the Olympic Stadium Centre in Phnom Penh.

The Philippines will be competing in the men’s singles and men’s team events, women’s team events, women’s singles and women’s doubles.

“This time, we have the women’s team events. It’s going to be historic because it could be the first gold for the Philippines in the women’s team event as well as men’s singles as well,” Zoleta said.

Zoleta, who along with her sister and doubles partner Bambi Zoleta banner the 12-man team, believes the Nationals will sweep the events they will play in.

“We’re excited to play again now that soft tennis is back in the SEA Games. We want to duplicate or exceed our performance from 2019,” Zoleta added.

As part of their preparation, then tricolor netters even spent time viewing and analyzing their opponents’ tendencies and skills online.

“What we did was we stalked them on Facebook and just watched their recent matches on YouTube,” Zoleta said.

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