Road tennis is to be staged throughout the island in a bid to rekindle interest in the indigenous sport.
The move got under way on Thursday morning at the Gymnasium, Wildey, St. Michael, with the launch of the Barbados Road Tennis Open, which is being coordinated by the National Sports Council, in partnership with the Barbados Road Tennis Association and the Professional Road Tennis Association.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Charles Griffith, officially launched the tournament, which runs from June 12 to August 7 at four venues islandwide: Deighton ‘Pa’ Roach facility in Bush Hall, St. Michael; Silver Hill, Christ Church; Gall Hill, St. John and Diamond Corner, St. Peter.
Noting that road tennis was included in the National Sports Policy recently approved by Cabinet, and that a home was being sought for the island’s indigenous sport, the Minister disclosed: “We are actively looking to have that particular home at the Wildey Complex, that will house approximately 1,500 or so spectators. I know that the Ministry is actively looking at line technology to ensure that the line technology becomes a staple as it relates to road tennis.”
Mr. Griffith expressed the view that the Barbados road tennis brand must be exposed globally, and noted that nations were expressing interest in the sport. “I am pleased about this, the fact that our brothers in Africa are reaching out in relation to road tennis,” he noted.
The Minister stressed that skilled coaches were needed to take the sport worldwide and government was indeed “looking for certified coaches, who would go overseas on the behalf of government to promote the sport and be our ambassadors”.
Mr. Griffith thanked the staff and all those involved in making the tournament a reality, especially the Barbados Road Tennis and the Professional Road Tennis Associations, urging them to continue working together, remarking: “The trajectory that we’re looking at in terms of where we want to go with road tennis can only happen if we work in harmony, if we fuse together our ideas and our thoughts in terms of promoting this at the national level and throughout the region,” he stated.