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EKO 2018 Recap
July 26, 2018
The third annual East Kootenay Open tennis event was played this past weekend with players travelling from all over the Kootenays and as far away as Edmonton to play in Fernie’s beautiful James White Park. 52 matches were played and $1000 in prize money handed out. Friday and Saturday’s action focused on the early rounds with many local players battling not only other competitors but also strong winds. Players were rewarded with draw prizes from local businesses and a free BBQ on Saturday. Sunday’s action was all semi-final and finals with Fernie local Rob Oleksiuk claiming the main event Men’s Singles crown against Nigel Lilley of Edmonton 6-7, 6-4, 10-8. This is the first time in the tournament’s 3 year history that a local player has captured a main draw crown and it avenges Rob’s 2015 loss to Nigel which also played out in a three set battle.
The East Kootenay Open is the largest tennis event in eastern BC and is driving a new tourist market to the town of Fernie. The event had 56 entries this year and waiting lists for some categories. Players speak fondly of the beautiful setting, community support and overall tournament quality. Visiting players and their families are directed to the local businesses that sponsor the event and often stay an extra day or two to take in some of the other activities on offer. Fernie Tennis Community Association hosted the event and would like to thank Fernie Alpine Resort for their Summit Fund sponsorship and all the local businesses that contributed to draw prizing.
Next on the horizon in the Kootenay tennis calendar is the West Kootenay Open where Rob Oleksiuk will try for the Kootenay double alongside a strong contingent of Fernie players heading to Nelson for the event in mid August.