MANILA, Philippines—Alex Eala couldn’t hide her excitement to represent the Philippines in her maiden Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi Vietnam, which opens next week.
The 16-year-old Filipino tennis star, who arrived in Manila a few days ago, shared her excitement in a blog posted on the International Tennis Federation’s website on Wednesday.
“It will be the first time that I will compete in the Games, which makes it extra special, while they are massively important across the region and mean so much to so many people,” Eala wrote. “It is also another opportunity for me to represent the Philippines, something I love, and I definitely have the sense of playing for my nation and for something far bigger than just myself.”
Eala, who ruled leg 1 of the W25 in Chiang Rai last month, shared that she will head to Hanoi inspired knowing her mother Rizza, a former 1985 Bangkok SEA Games bronze medal in the 100m backstroke swimming, will be watching her with the whole family.
“It is also incredibly meaningful to be following in the footsteps of my mom, Rizza, who was previously a swimmer and competed at the 1985 Games in Bangkok, winning bronze in the 100m backstroke. I cannot wait to try and win for my country, just as she did,” she said.
The Rafael Nadal Academy scholar also shared she started training with the national team at Manila Polo Club last week with her teammates Marian Capadocia, Shaira Rivera and Jenaila Rose Prulla and men’s players Treat Huey, Ruben Gonzales, Jeson Patrombon, Francis Alcantara and Eric Olivarez.
“We will bond further as preparations continue, putting ourselves in the best possible position to do well when the tennis event gets underway on May 13,” Eala said. “I am back in full training now having enjoyed a little break after returning to the Philippines from Spain. The rest gave me the chance to hang out with family, which is one of the best things about coming home and competing in Asia.”
The two-time junior Grand Slam doubles champion vowed that she will bring her experience from her W25 title run and the Madrid Open—despite her early exit as a wild card entry—when she competes in the SEA Games.
“I will certainly be looking to take that form and my new levels of fitness into the Southeast Asian Games. This is a big occasion and I cannot wait to wear my national team colours with pride. Go Philippines!” Eala concluded.
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