TheMinistry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment and road tennis stakeholders held a consultation on Wednesday to discuss how to take the indigenous sport forward and make it an economic earner for stakeholders, players and the country.
Minister Dwight Sutherland, during the consultation at the Wildey Gymnasium, declared that “the time has come to make road tennis a key sporting discipline in Barbados”.
He said: “Road tennis has been around since the 1930s; it belongs to us and we must do what we have to, to develop and make road tennis a key sporting discipline, not just nationally but also internationally.”
Mr. Sutherland noted that Government was in the process of developing a policy and creating an environment to assist in “building out” the sport, where careers could be developed, and each road tennis organisation playing a role in making this a reality.
The Minister suggested that one of the ways forward for the sport included involving children at the primary and secondary levels and he pointed out that a recent discussion was held with Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw, on how the sport could be included in the schools’ sporting curriculum.
Some of the stakeholders at the consultation included President of the Barbados Road Tennis Association, Patrick Craigwell; President of the Professional Road Tennis Association, Dale Clarke; well-known players Deighton “Pa” Roach and Philip Garner, as well as Barbados’ number one ranking road tennis player, Mark ‘Venom’ Griffith.
During the meeting, several topics were discussed, including the rules and constitution that govern the sport; copyright and property rights legislation; ranking structures; class categories; the development of a programme through the National Sports Council to develop coaches and umpires as well as a national road tennis arena.