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Fence blocks road tennis shots

Randy Bennett

Fence blocks road tennis shots

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Action at one of Barbados’ best known road tennis districts has come to a virtual standstill.
The court situated at 2nd Avenue, Thomas Gap, President Kennedy Drive, St Michael, more popularly known as “Vietnam,” has become a mere ornament after a resident erected a galvanized fence onto the sidewalk, prohibiting play.
It has resulted in the once vibrant court, which has produced some of the island’s best players in Anthony “Limp” Richardson, Edward “Dabo” Carrington and Jeffrey “Borah” Best, resembling more of a ghost town.
According to Best, the resident’s actions has had a negative effect on the community.
He revealed that four months ago, the middle- aged man had threatened to erect a fence after complaining that his premises were continually being littered.
And soon after, he made good on his word.
However, the fence has been erected on the sidewalk, making it extremely dangerous to play tennis for fear of running into it.
“You used to find tennis playing here all throughout the day but now that the fence is there, no one is playing tennis because no one wants to run into the fence and get hurt,” Best told WEEKEND SPORT during an interview on Saturday.
“People like Michael Carrington, Rev. Joseph Atherley and even Owen Arthur have come down here to watch road tennis, because Vietnam is known for top quality road tennis because all of the top players used to come here and play.
“Even if he wanted to fence his land people wouldn’t mind, but he has fenced all over the sidewalk,” he added.
Best said they had lodged a complaint at Town and Country Planning about three months ago, and they were informed that the matter would be investigated.
Nothing had yet been done, he complained.
He maintained that the fence had also forced organizers to cancel a road tennis competition they had planned for the area.
Richardson, a resident of the area who regarded as one of the best to ever play the game, said that the court had been there from 1990.
He explained that not only had the resident’s actions brought tennis to a standstill, but doing so also had a domino effect on the close-knit community.
“The shops aren’t making any money now,” Richardson lamented.
“There are three shops through this gap, and the large crowds which the tennis attracted used to patronize all of the shops.
“But now that there is no tennis, the tennis players don’t come around anymore and the shops aren’t making any money.”
Richardson further condemned the action, pointing out that it had also robbed the young children who lived in the area of a prized possession.
“All of the little children who live out here play tennis.
“This is four months now that they haven’t been able to play, and you can never tell where the next tennis champion is going to come from.”
Efforts to contact the resident who erected the fence proved futile.

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