Cargos continue to serve country

CARGO ON THE MOVE: Jason Cargo will represent New Zealand at the world seniors teams event in Turkey in March.
CARGO ON THE MOVE: Jason Cargo will represent New Zealand at the world seniors teams event in Turkey in March.

Hamilton's Jason Cargo is looking to take out a couple of titles on home turf today before he becomes the fourth player from his family to represent New Zealand.

The 52-year-old has been selected to play for his country for the first time at the world seniors teams event in Turkey in March.

Today he will take the court in the final of the doubles and mixed doubles events at the national seniors championships at the Waikato Tennis Centre.

Having won both doubles and mixed titles before, Cargo was still chasing an elusive singles title but on Thursday was knocked out of the 50+ singles in the quarterfinals, losing to top seed Grant Williams of Auckland, 6-3 7-5.

But yesterday he and Kevin Elliott - the second seeds in the 45+ division - won their semifinal, while Cargo and Karen Cranston - the third seeds in the 50+ grade - also took out their mixed semi.

With age categories in five-year blocks ranging from 35 to 80, there were more than 200 entries at the nationals, including players from Australia and Japan.

The tournament began on Wednesday and finishes tomorrow.

Cargo, who played national league tennis for Hamilton in the late 1980s alongside Elliott and the great Onny Parun, competes for Hamilton in the Waikato interclub Saturday competition.

His side made the final this season, losing to Thames.

"You're playing top juniors that hit it hard and have a lot of coaching," Cargo said.

"So that's the challenge, to keep you active and be able to handle their power.

"You've got to challenge yourself all the time."

Cargo, who also used to play top level club football, said it was always a goal to play at the annual world event.

"It's an opportunity that you don't know when will come again."

Cargo is part of a three-man 50+ team for the first week of the competition, with about 30 countries involved, before he stays on for another week to play in the singles, doubles and mixed events.

His brother Stephen, 57, who is based in France, will play in the 55+ NZ team, having also competed in 2011 when the event was in Christchurch and was disrupted by the earthquake.

The brothers are continuing a family tradition, with their parents - Sue and Malcolm - having played in the 70+ age group at the tournament, with Sue's teams having claimed second and third placings.

The event in Turkey will be played on clay courts - something Cargo is unaccustomed to, with only a few of those dotted around this country.

"We've got no expectations," he said of the competition.

"The reality is that once you get into the 50s you'll have people from some of these countries that maybe play tennis pretty seriously. And there might be some ex Davis Cup guys around. So it's a hell of a challenge."

Waikato Times