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Road tennis rebirth

Randy Bennett

Road tennis rebirth

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A move is being made to re-establish the Barbados Road Tennis Association (BRTA).
And a veteran administrator is questioning the actions of the senior members of the last association, which led to its disbandment.
Former president of the BRTA, Philip “Foff’ Garner says he has plans to reform the national body which was last operational in 2008, but according to him, three senior officials from the last administration vacated their posts and are coincidentally now involved with the Racquets Of Fire series.
“There needs to be a body for road tennis in Barbados. The fact that the last president of the BRTA, Dale Clarke, vice-president Sylvan “Lama” Barnett and secretary George Shepherd are all involved in the Racquets Of Fire championships shows a conflict of interest.
“They were the last administration to head the BRTA, and then Clarke, who is also the president of the Professional Road Tennis Association, gets involved with the Racquets Of Fire after the BRTA collapses, it is very coincidental,” he argued.
He revealed that since 2008, there had not been a tournament held under the auspices of the BRTA.
However, Garner believes that there is a definite need for the reestablishment of the BRTA, and he will be pressing forward with the initiative.
“I will be holding a meeting very soon, with the hopes that we can get this show back on the road. In order for road tennis in Barbados to progress, there needs to be a national body which will be responsible for the development of road tennis,” he said assuredly.
He highlighted that one of the first major issues which needed to be addressed, was the urgent need for a permanent home for road tennis.
“We need to have a permanent home for road tennis in Barbados. It is imperative that if we are to go forward, that we need to find somewhere where road tennis players can call home.”
But Clarke is adamant that there was no conflict of interest and their best efforts to move the association forward were spurned.
“Everything we did was undermined so I?just told myself I?don’t have that time to waste. We sat down and did a whole structure and it was rejected,” Clarke said.
He welcomed any move to reestablish the BRTA, and would even vote for Garner if he wanted to become president again, but said the body needed structure.
Clarke pointed to the gains of the PRTA and said jealousy was fuelling the accusations.
“The PRTA has just come out of London where they have done a video with Andy Murray, sponsored by Adidas, which has brought road tennis awareness to 40 000 people globally and there was just a feature on CNN?World Sport, all organized by the Professional Road Tennis Association,” Clarke said.
“The same people he is accusing of bringing [about] the downfall of the Barbados Road Tennis Association have been out there making tremendous strides in road tennis within the last three months.
“I’ve put my energy in the PRTA 500 per cent and it is bringing road tennis to global awareness, not just local awareness.”
Clarke counted among their achievements the development of the website and Facebook page and they are currently negotiating to hold training camps in England, Sweden, the United States, Germany and the Caribbean.