The Oceania Tennis Federation is deeply saddened by the death on the 30th December 2020 of Kwalam Apisah. For over 40 years, Kwalam was the “smiling” face of tennis in Papua New Guinea and across Pacific Oceania. With his coaching knowledge and prowess, Kwalam changed the face of tennis, Papua New Guinea grass roots tennis and particularly elite women’s tennis across Pacific Oceania.
Kwalam was the first Davis Cup Captain for Pacific Oceania for their historic first Davis Cup Tie in the UAE in 1995 (along with Lency Tenai, Motuliki Kailahi and Sanjeev Tikaram) following the inception of the Oceania Tennis Federation in 1993.
Kwalam loved tennis, loved the technical side of tennis but always had the dream that ‘ one day one of his proteges would break into the professional circuit.’ Little did he realize when he started coaching 39 years ago in 1982 that it would be his own daughter, Abigail. who would realize this dream for him. His tennis achievements and work in Papua New Guinea culminated in his being awarded the British Empire Medal (B.E.M) in 2019.
All those who knew Kwalam will have a lasting memory, epitomized in the photo above, of his warm smile that was always on his face. He could light up a room by his presence. That is a unique gift and Kwalam had that. His opinion was always so valued in so many tennis meetings at Pacific Games and others. When he spoke, people listened. He always had a genuine sincerity in his heart. Kwalam has touched the lives of so many people in an immeasurable way, not only in Papua New Guinea but across the Pacific.
The Oceania Tennis Federation extend our condolences to Kwalam’s wife, Vere, and family.
Kwalam’s tennis profile can be accessed here: