MARINE CORPS AIR STATION FUTENMA, Japan - Marines and sailors from across the island displayed their athletic prowess in the Marine Corps Air Station Futenma Open Tennis Tournament July 30.
The tournament was coordinated by Marine Corps Community Services and featured trophies for the champions of the advanced and intermediate brackets, along with shirts for all of the players, according to Niki Schehl, sports coordinator, MCCS Okinawa.
Bases around the island hold regularly-scheduled tennis tournaments such as this one to provide players with chances to get together and compete, according to Schehl.
“We usually do two a year [at MCAS Futenma]. The other bases have around two as well,” said Schehl. “The next tournament here will be sometime at the beginning of next year.”
Marine Corps Community Services used the gathering of tennis players as a chance to gain feedback on their continuing line of tournaments.
“This tournament was for singles players and a lot of people like doubles. The next tournament will be doubles just to see how many people are coming out for each,” said Schehl. “At the end, we are going to ask the players for their feedback and see what they want.”
The players appreciated that their input was taken into account during the planning of this and future tournaments.
“It was up to the players to determine how we wanted to play the tournament and everything went pretty well,” said Juan Vallejo, a participant. “People were coming from other bases, and the competition was pretty good.”
The supportive audience helped the players enjoy the tournament more, according to Vallejo.
MCCS organizes events like this to provide Marines and sailors more recreational options.
“It is something for them to do,” said Schehl. “It is some good exercise and a healthy past time.”
Vallejo defeated the returning champion from the previous tournament, Ricky Vang, 8-6 in the final set to finish first in the tournament’s advanced bracket, making Vang second place.
In the end, the tournament provided an opportunity for the players to spend a Saturday afternoon competing and meeting new people.
“Tennis has been a good hobby for me,” said Vang. “It passes the time and gets me out meeting people.”
For more information, visit www.mccsokinawa.com.