Road tennis making comeback
ROAD TENNIS is making its grand comeback to the national sporting arena.
And just in time for Independence.
Barbados’ indigenous sport is getting a rebranding of sorts at the community level as the National Sports Council (NSC) unveiled a massive island-wide parish tournament starting November 24 as part of this year’s Independence celebrations.
Minister of Sport Stephen Lashley made the announcement during the tournament’s official launch yesterday while drawing for the first-round matchups at the NSC headquarters.
“This championship is intended to create that resurgence of the game across Barbados [and] what we anticipate is that we will have the participation of our young people in particular, because they are the ones that will push the game,” reasoned Lashley.
“The sport is indigenous to Barbados and therefore I believe it is quite fitting that we marry this tournament with independence.”
The tournament is being divided into three geographical zones, with each parish having both a male and female representative in the junior, senior and master category during the initial round-robin format.
Draws will then be made for the subsequent quarterfinal and semi-final knockout matchups before the staging of the December 11 final at a venue to be decided.
Before the actual start of the tournament, interested participants will be allowed to compete in their various parishes early this month for the right represent the area in one of the three divisions.
“It is our own sport and we have to do everything not only to preserve it but to ensure we support the sport within our communities,” Lashley forwarded.
“As we look to the future [though], what we hope to do is to provide opportunities to compete in road tennis at the regional and even the international level. I believe because road tennis belongs to Barbados, we should be the ones pushing it in the international arena.”
So much so, that Lashley acknowledged the government’s effort to introduce the sport regionally while holding a cultural demonstration of road tennis at the recent Shanghai Exchange in Chinda.
“The Ministry of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth fully recognises the immense potential and cultural value of road tennis,” said Lashley.
And to that end, he reasoned that it was time Barbadians prepared themselves to gain financially from the marketing of the sport when road tennis hits the global stage.
A grand sum of $1500 will be at stake in both senior divisions, with the masters playing for a top prize of $800, while laptops and cellphones will be presented to the junior winners.
St Lucy, St Andrew, St Peter and St James are slated to contest Zone 1, while St John, St Philip, Christ Church and St Michael ‘A’ have been grouped in Zone 2.
Zone 3 consists of St Thomas, St George, St Joseph and St Michael ‘B’. (JM)