As the National Sports Council???s Inter-Parish Road Tennis Championships came to a close over the weekend, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, disclosed that plans were in place for Barbados to stage the first ever World Road Tennis Tournament next year.
Speaking at the opening of the two-night finals on Friday at the Springer Memorial Secondary School, Mr. Lashley said: ???The lead up to that will be a series of engagements across the region in a very structured way.???
He said the inter-parish tournament, which was now in its fifth year, continued to generate a lot of interest in the island???s indigenous game, with there being a ???resurgence of road tennis in Barbados???. He further credited the event???s sponsors Plus and the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
???Without the continued support from Plus, we would not be able to stage this quality production. I also want to salute the CBC for partnering with us to ensure that these exciting matches can be televised live across Barbados and the globe,??? he asserted.
Moreover, Mr. Lashley said he believed the increased prize money was a major incentive for the players. ???We have one of the most competitive prize structures???we have extended it in a fair manner so that most of the players will walk away with something [regardless of] whoever wins, who comes second and third.???
This year, St. Michael proved to be the champion parish of the tournament, when duo Mark ???Venom??? Griffith and Antonio ???Lil Man??? Daniel beat Christ Church???s Marson Johnson and Anthony ???Ears??? Mitchell for the grand prize of $10,500. Mr. Johnson and Mr. Mitchell took the second prize of $5,000.
St. Michael duo, Jeffery ???Bing Crosby??? Layne and Anderson ???Governor??? Holder, confirmed they were the true masters of the game when they won against St. Thomas??? Rickey ???Body Doc??? Hoyte and Anderson ???Chef Andy??? Smith in the Masters category. The winners took home $5,000 and the losing team accepted $3,000.
In the 15 & under category, St. Michael???s Justin ???Star Boy??? Smith dethroned Christ Church???s Ezekiel ???Easy??? Ward for a $500 first prize.??Meanwhile, St. George???s Kim Holder retained her title as the ???Queen of Road Tennis???, when she won against Christ Church???s Rachel Smith in the Women???s category. Ms. Holder walked away with the $6,000 prize, while Ms. Smith settled for $3,000.
In the 21 & under category, St. George???s Emar Edwards beat St. James??? Dario Hinds; Mr. Edwards earned $4,000, whereas $2,000 went to Mr. Hinds.??The Christ Church team of Victor ???Earth??? Ward and Randy ???Cat??? Yearwood won $6,000 in the Men???s ???B??? Class category. They beat St. George???s Bruce Pounder and Ivor Lashley ??? who settled for the $3,000 second prize.