The curtains were brought down on Saturday for the IGG 2014 tennis competition despite the threat of rain, with one of the most thrilling matches on GBTI Bel Air Park Court 2, Guyana vs. Suriname Girls Under 14s.
All spectators’ eyes were glued to Afruica Gentle and Shivani Persaud battling against the Suriname team. The Guyanese girls took the first set comfortably at 6-0, but battled neck and neck in the second set to force a tiebreaker which ended in favour of the Surinamese team at 7-5. In the deciding super tiebreaker, the home team dug deep and cleaned up on their errors winning 10-3 to bursts of applauses from the appreciating spectators.
The closing ceremony took place immediately thereafter where it was revealed that Suriname came in first with a total of 27 matches with Guyana finishing second place with 23 matches and French Guyana in third place with 3 matches.
There was a general perception that the level of play of the Guyanese team was exceptionally better than the previous two performances during 2012 in Suriname and 2013 in French Guiana. Guyanese International Professional Bill Adams acting as Tournament Referee, who came in for the tournament, remarked on the proper organization of the tournament and commended Guyana on this bold step that has really signaled the elevation of the profile of tennis in Guyana. He noted that the spirit of the players were exceptionally professional with little or no disputes, a feature that is not generally characteristic of international tournaments.
CEO of GBTI, Mr. John Tracey, former Executive of the GTA, in representing the tennis community, expressed his delight at the quality of the matches and the unwavering effort of the GTA to produce an international tournament of such high standard for the first time in recent years.
President of the GTA, Miss Grace McCalman, who also articulated her satisfaction and excitement at the quality of tennis displayed by the young players, recounted the four critical success factors of the tournament which were the provision of a facility by the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry, the financial support provided by the French and Surinamese Tennis Associations, the local sponsors and the dedication of the executive, coaches, players and parents who she named.
There was specific mention of Tennis Veteran Harry Panday who also provided his courts for some matches to be played. After the presentation of the country trophies and medals to all team players and coaches, all Guyanese players were given the opportunity to present their favorite player of each visiting team with souvenirs, to loud jeering and applauses.
The President also presented tournament souvenir cups to Mr. Bill Adams for his willingness to leave his academy in Florida to come to Guyana to provide assistance to the GTA, Mr. John Tracey for his attention to detail in ensuring that his facilities fully support the requirements of the tournament and to National Junior Coach Shelly Daly-Ramdyhan for her passion and commitment to junior development over the years. All of the local players except one originated out of the Park Players Club, which is a significant indication of the progress of her programme at the club. The other player Shivanie Persaud started her tennis career in Roraima Tennis Club. The evening closed with a dinner and party for the three teams and officials hosted at the home of newly installed executive member Ms. Scheherazade Khan.
Also installed recently into the GTA Executive was American William Spangler who is attached to the Georgetown International Academy. Mr. Spangler took on the responsibility of Tournament Administrator for the closing matches. Mr. Pierre Saint-Arroman, French Honorary Consul to Guyana who attended the event, signaled his appreciation for an impressively run tournament and encourages the GTA to take on a tournament of similar caliber and model for Senior Players.
The major sponsors for the Tournament were Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry, David Persaud Investments, Sterling Products, Bill Adams International Tennis Academy, Brian Fung & friends and other sponsors were Associated Industries Ltd, Air Services Ltd,704 Food Court, Continental Agencies Ltd, Camex Restaurants Inc., Demerara Distilleries Ltd, Caribbean International Distributors Inc, Park Players Tennis Club, Harry Panday and Rawle Blyden. Overall, the 2014 IGG tennis hosted in Guyana was a resounding success under the constraint of limited financial resources. GTA thanks all sponsors and the team of dedicated organisers. It is expected that the next Inter Guianas for tennis will be held in Suriname next year.
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