Hungarian envoy clinches 2nd title at diplomatic tennis tourney
By Philip Iglauer
Hungarian Ambassador to Korea Miklos Lengyel triumphantly fended off precision play by the Czech team to retain his championship title for a second year.
Reigning champion Lengyel with partner John Sormark, son of Swedish Deputy Chief of Mission Ulf Sormark, bested 15 teams in The Korea Times 8th Annual Diplomatic Tennis Championships at the Grand Hyatt hotel tennis courts, Saturday.
The win was particularly sweet for Lengyel, as the career diplomat will likely complete a near five-year Korea posting this year.
“April is all about KT (Korea Times),” said Lengyel after the final game. “The tennis tournament is something we all look forward to every spring.”
Milos Sklenka, head of the economic and commercial mission at the Czech embassy in Korea, led the Czech team with American Thomas Pinansky, senior foreign attorney at Barun Law.
The Czechs waded through mighty opponents from myriad nations, such as Germany, Ecuador, Mexico, an ASEAN team, Holland, Taiwan, two Russian and two American teams and Mongolia.
Finally, as the sun began to set, they faced off with the returning champion.
The Czechs and the Hungarians looked evenly matched.
Just when it looked like Sklenka had the upperhand, Lengyel dispatched the would-be challengers with a final smash into center court.
“It was great for The Korea Times to invite us,” Sklenka said immediately after the game. “I have been to many of these diplomatic competitions all around the world, and I am really impressed. This is the best. It went off like a Swiss watch.”
Swiss brothers Tim and Michael Zoller and Taiwan’s Liu Ming-liang, counsellor at the Taipei representative mission, and Yang Yun-shem, director there, made it to the semi-finals, receiving commendations and free night stay at the Somerset , Imperial Palace and Inter-Continental hotels.
The Czech runner-ups received a night stay in an executive room at the Sheraton Grande Walkerhill hotel. Champions Lengyel and Sormark received a night stay at the Millennium Seoul Hilton hotel.