Medal hope on tennis
If tennis players Haydn Lewis and Darian King carry their present form into the Pan American Games, they could defy the seedings and return from Guadalajara, Mexico, with a medal.
Lewis and King were named as the two tennis players among the 50-plus Barbadians for the October 23 to 30 meet.
Both have had relatively good showings on the Futures Circuit and coach/manager Kevin Yarde is quietly optimistic about their chances, especially in the doubles.
“The guys are ready. I am hopeful that they get a medal or come close to a medal,” Yarde told SUNSPORT yesterday.
“I am looking for a strong performance in the doubles.
The two of them have been doing quite well this year. They have a good understanding and they have played quite a few matches together.”
Both players may be unseeded going into the tournament, but Yarde believes they stand a good chance “of upsetting some people”, especially since the event will be played on hard courts, a surface which suits both players.
Recently, King reached the final of a Futures Tournament in California before going down 6-2, 6-3. Lewis is in the singles semi-finals of a tourney in Mexico and also reached the doubles semi-finals with Bahamian Marvin Rolle.
Meanwhile, men’s hockey coach Shawn Cumberbatch also fancies their chances of advancing from Pool “A” which also includes Canada, Chile, and Trinidad and Tobago.
“This is a very good group we are in. I wouldn’t say it is an easy group, but it is a very good group for us. We usually get Argentina, Cuba and the harder teams in the competition. I am not saying that Canada and Chile are not, you shouldn’t underestimate anyone, but I think we have a realistic chance of progressing in this group,” Cumberbatch said.
The coach said Chile would be physical, they know Trinidad and this is the year they could get over Canada.
The guys have been training for the past year and technical director Sven Lindemann of Germany assisted the team with the technical aspects of the game over the last three months.
Last month, the team also took part in a four-match warm-up series in the United States which was instructive.
“We saw what the team had. It could have been better. We just have to work on some minor details in terms of our defensive structure and we addressed that,” Cumberbatch said.
A former national player himself, Cumberbatch said the team was young, with several Under-21 players coming through following the retirement of the more recognized names.
He said the players had done well in the domestic season, but needed to prove their worth at higher competition and they were up to the task.
Barbados will also be competing in women’s hockey, athletics, badminton, boxing, cycling, shooting (which sees the return of Mike Maskell), squash, swimming, taekwondo and triathlon.
Esther Maynard, president of the Amateur Athletic Association, is the chef de mission and the first group departs on Tuesday morning.