As the National Sports Council (NSC) prepares to host the finals of the Inter-Parish Road Tennis Championships this weekend, Minister of Sports, Stephen Lashley, is full of praise for the competition.
According to Mr. Lashley, Government’s expansion of community sports "has led to a resurgence of interest in road tennis at the community level and has even spurred the development of a number of separate community tournaments".
He highlighted the just concluded inaugural Silver Hill Road Tennis Tournament as a good example of the growth of the highly popular sport. "The competition attracted national and community players, as well as thousands of fans and this also translated to business for community vendors," he stated.
The Minister expressed the view that the tremendous interest in the sport would give Barbados the opportunity to grow community tourism, and suggested that it must be part of the new thrust forward. "We intend to host a world tournament here in Barbados in the not-too-distant future," he disclosed.
Mr. Lashley is on record as challenging the Council to start planning for the first international road tennis tournament.
The finals of the Inter-Parish Road Tennis Competition will be held this Friday, January 11, and Saturday, January 12, at the Dover hard courts, Dover, Christ Church, beginning at 7:00 each night.
The inaugural tournament was started in 2010 to raise the profile of road tennis, as well as encourage greater cooperation among communities across the island. The Director of NSC, Erskine King, said then that the competition "is a great way of bringing people together, particularly in the evenings. With the Council having road tennis courts in every parish, it certainly would help with proper utilisation of those facilities to the benefit of all – the very young to the very old".
He suggested that those who would not be actively participating in the competition could become active spectators in support of their respective parishes.