Burundians dominated the 3rd edition of the annual Cogebank Tennis Open tournament, claiming the top prizes in men and women’s categories, at Cercle Sportif de Kigali on Saturday.
Abdoul Shakur beat Rwanda’s Etienne Niyigena 2-0 (6-3 and 6-2) in the final to lift the title in men’s professional competition, while Aisha Niyonkuru, another Burundian, edged Rwanda’s second seed Gisèle Umumararungu 2-0 (6-1 and 6-1) to claim the title in the women’s fray.
Speaking to Times Sport after his victory, a visibly beaming Shakur said: “It is an honour to be in Rwanda, and compete with great players and manage to win the tournament. I beat one of the country’s best in the final, it was not easy. Niyigena is talented and will win many titles in the future.”
On top of trophies, Shakur and Niyonkuru also pocketed Rwf350,000 in cash prize each.
Niyigena redeems himself in doubles
Meanwhile, Niyigena, in the singles final, paired up with compatriot Hamisi Gatete to overcome Burundi’s duo of Shakur and Issa Cuma (6-2, 1-6 and 10/5) in the doubles final.
Youngsters John Hakizumwami and Asnath Kamikazi emerged the best in the U15 youth category.
Hakizumwami beat Claude Ishimwe 2-0 (6-4, 6-3) to win the boys’ title while Kamikazi also edged Christiane Uwamahoro 2-0 (6-2, 6-3) to emerge the best in the girls’ competition.
In amateurs, which only had the men’s category, Jean Paul Barukate clinched the title uncontested after Serge Kayitare injured his ankle early in the final .
Viateur Kabirigi and Christian Kaningu won the doubles title after dominating the pair of Evode Rukundo and Placide Karangayire 2-0 (6-2, 6-3) in the final.
In singles of the men’s category, the event’s main competition, topseed Olivier Havugimana, won the inaugural edition in 2016, while Ernest Habiyambere claimed last year’s title.