Sports Minister, Dwight Sutherland (left), playing a round of road tennis at the opening of a new court and community based tournament at Haynesville, St. James on Saturday. (F. Belgrave/BGIS)

Plans are being implemented to take the indigenous Barbadian sport of road tennis to the rest of the world, and for a Road Tennis Federation to be based in Barbados

Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Dwight Sutherland, made this disclosure on Saturday, while opening a new road tennis court and attending a community based tournament at Haynesville, St. James.

Highlighting the advantages of playing road tennis, Mr. Sutherland noted that the sport is seen as one that can assist with one of the major health challenges among young people to date.

“Obesity, persons becoming overweight at an early age is a major challenge, we believe that through sports we can solve some of our … lifestyle challenges. Engaging in activity… you lose weight; you burn calories,” he remarked.

The Minister also touched on the issue of local players not making a living a living from road tennis.  “We can boast as a country of having some of the world’s best road tennis players. So, why are these … players not making a living like the other sporting disciplines, such as cricket, football and swimming….  My focus, through road tennis, is to allow some of the road tennis youth, and not so young persons, who are road tennis champions, … to take road tennis beyond the shores of Barbados, beyond the 166 square miles, not only to go regionally, but also to go internationally,” he stressed.

With regard to plans for advancing the sport, Minister Sutherland stated that he held a meeting with the Barbados Road Tennis Association, the Professional Road Tennis Association, the World Road Tennis Federation, as well as an attorney-at-law, who looked at trademarks, copyrights and the possibility of a Geographical Indication for tennis and the entire intellectual property rights for the sport.

“We met recently at the gymnasium, and we came up with a plan to have a governance structure by the end of this year for road tennis. Where the world will see Barbados as the home for road tennis, as the place where road tennis started and as the true road tennis governing body for the world. That’s our mandate as a Government, and our mission is to have the World Road Tennis Federation seen all over the world and located here in Barbados. This is our indigenous sport; we believe we have a fundamental role to play,” he stressed.

The Sports Minister also revealed that he had discussions with the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation about commercialising road tennis in a major way, from the nets to the racquets and other paraphernalia.  

And, in the quest to have the game played more throughout the island, he said road tennis courts would also be built in Durants Village and Hall’s Village.

Mr. Sutherland also called on those persons involved in criminal and illegal activity to desist, and to get involved in the sport. “All of those who are engaging in deviant behaviour in Barbados, put down the gun.  There’s no need for it … Pick up the road tennis racquet and put down the gun,” he urged.

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