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Gem Hoahing

tennis player
Full name: Gem Cynthia Hoahing
Nickname: Little Gem, Little Poker face, The Mighty Atom
Alias: Ho A Hing
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Bio Her father, Benjamin Hunter Hoahing, was a businessman while her mother, Singha (Susan) Ho A Shoo, who came from a wealthy Chinese family in British Guyana. Hoahing’s mother studied medicine in Edinburgh and Dublin and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in the late 1920s.

The family had British passports and settled in London. Hoahings lived in Twickenham at Neville House, a substantial Georgian home. The large garden had a fruit orchard and a tennis court, on which her mother taught her to play tennis . The Chinese ambassador was a frequent visitor at the garden parties held at Neville House through the summer.

Hoahing soon emerged as one of Britain’s most promising juniors. When she was 12 years old she played at the West Twickenham LTC and made a trip to the French Riviera for the first time where she played in a number of handicap tournaments. At age 14 she won the under 16 singles title at the Queen's Club Championships.

Hoahing won the junior singles Championship of Great Britain and of France in 1936. She was the singles runner-up at the 1938 South of France Championships, held at the Nice Club, losing the final in straight sets to Gracyn Wheeler. Hoahing, then 17 years old, had defeated Simonne Mathieu in the quarterfinal, who was at the time the No. 5 ranked player in the world and had won the previous three editions of the tournament.

Between 1937 and 1961 she competed in 19 Wimbledon Championships. In 1936 she was refused entry to the tournament because of her young age. Starting around that time she was coached for some years by Dan Maskell. Her best singles result at Wimbledon was reaching the fourth round in 1949 and 1957. In 1949, she defeated fourth-seeded Gussie Moran in the third round and in 1957 first-seeded and eventual champion Althea Gibson proved too strong. In 1952, she was a runner up to Betsy Abbas at the All England Plate, a competition held at the Wimbledon Championships for players who were defeated in the first or second rounds of the singles competition.

In July 1946 she won the first edition of th Welsh Championships after World War II, beating Joy Hibbert in the final. Hoahing won the singles title at the British Covered Court Championships, held at the Queen's Club, in 1948 after a three-sets win in the final against compatriot Joan Curry.She added the singles title at the North of England Championships in Scarborough to her palmares in August 1949, her third consecutive title at the event.That year she also won the singles title at the Scottish Championships. In 1950, she defeated Mary Terán de Weiss in the final to become the South of England Championships singles champion. The previous year she had also reached the final but lost to compatriot Jean Walker-Smith.

Hoahing made her last appearance at The Championships in the Ladies’ Doubles in 1961 at the age of 40.

Hoahing continued to play tennis into her eighties, often at charity events and with some celebrated doubles partners. “The ‘Four Musketeers’ [Jean Borotra, Jacques Brugnon, Henri Cochet and Rene Lacoste] were all good friends of Gem’s,” Mimi Chan Choong said. “And whenever the king of Norway was here he always wanted Gem as his partner.”
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