By Rawle Welch
With the maximum of US$20,000 available from the International Tennis Federation (ITF) to assist in the development of a Tennis Centre, it really boggles the mind that Guyana has not been able to take advantage of the munificence on offer by the sport’s Governing Body to date.
This information was given to Kaieteur Sport by ITF Development Officer for the English-speaking Caribbean Trinidadian Anthony Jeremiah, who was in Guyana recently to assess the progress of the implementation of the development programme which is being run by National Coach Shelly Daly-Ramdyhan.
According to Jeremiah, who was seen going through some sessions with members of the junior squad last Sunday, most of the other islands in the region have already benefited from the financial resource, while others are in the process of commencing construction of tennis facilities within their respective territories namely Dominica and Grenada.
He said that because the ITF sees the cause as helping to develop and sustain the game, they are always willing to offer assistance to affiliated members once they can supply ownership of the land that the facility will be built on.
“Once the Guyana Lawn Tennis Association (GLTA) could put together a proper proposal and they have the ownership of the land, then they can qualify for ITF’s assistance,” Jeremiah disclosed. He added that it is incumbent that the GLTA gets its own facility if it is serious about the future development of the sport here.
“When you have to utilise Private courts, very often you are severely restricted, you have to trust that other patrons are not going to be using it at the same time, so that means that you have to plan in accordance with the owner’s time table which is not always in sync with yours,” the ITF Development Officer stated.
Comparing the present situation with his last visit, Jeremiah indicated that not much has changed, adding that in order for the young players to develop, there needs to be more competitions available for them to compete in.
“The concern that I’ve had is that small amount of competitions that the juniors are playing in and this can only be remedied by the acquisition of a Tennis Centre,” Jeremiah believed.
Asked what needed to be done to see improvement in Guyana’s tennis, Jeremiah said that he will definitely be putting more pressure on the local Body to exert more pressure on the Sport Ministry to complete the existing facility at Non Pariel and to accelerate the plan to have a plot of land.
He, however, did admit that Daly-Ramdyhan was doing an excellent job with the little available resources and commended her for that.
Meanwhile, questioned on Guyana’s impending participation at the inaugural Caribbean Games, Jeremiah, who is a member of the Committee that will select the players who’re eligible, informed Kaieteur Sport that Guyana’s involvement is not a foregone conclusion, but rather they will have to sit down and assess the current status in terms of ranking for all the players to be selected for the prestigious event.
In attempting to describe the format for selection, Jeremiah said that one of the major impediments for Guyana is that most of its players are not very active and the Committee will only be looking at those players who’re currently active and are ranked in the region.
Guyana sadly does very badly when it comes to the preservation of records and this could very well diminish our chances of competing in this segment.
He added that only the most current ranking will be used to select the top 48 players to compete in the tournament.
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