Jan 08, 2016 Sports
Affiliate partners of the Guyana Tennis Association (GLTA), sponsors and parents gathered for the announcement of the prestigious 2015 Player of the Year awards recently. All except Coach Leyland Leacock were
not surprised that he would cop the top award of Senior Male player of the Year with 600 points, while dethroning Anthony Downes who won the award several times in succession in recent years. Leacock edged out Daniel Lopes who came in second with 560 points with Downes trailing in third with 540 points.
Nicola Ramdyhan for the second time was awarded Senior Female of the Year with 630 points. Aretta Dey came in second with 570 points and Afruica Gentle with 410 points. The awards are donated annually by Dr. Arthur Ingram Hazlewood, an overseas Guyanese who is an avid tennis fan and prominent dental consultant who provides financial support to the Association each year.
Daniel Lopes claimed the award of Junior Male of the Year with 630 points but not without the close challenge of Keenan Persaud with 613 points. Hemraj Resaul came in third with 504 points. The Junior Female of the Year Champion was once again captured by Nicola Ramdyhan who amassed a whopping 840 points, holding off Aretta Dey on her heels with 805 points. The young and potent Shivani Persaud also wrapped up an impressive 567 points.
A special award for Most Improved Player was given to the promising 12yr old Joshua Kalekyezi, who only a year ago was playing Green Ball categories before being thrown into the Yellow Ball category where he immediately took on the challenges and made obvious commitments towards excelling. This award was donated by Mr. Norris McLean, who is also an overseas Guyanese tennis player and enthusiast.
The GTA presented an Appreciation Award to Bounty Farm Ltd for their unwavering commitment each year to the association to assist with fundraising. Chief Accountant Mr. Garfield Wiltshire received the award on behalf of the company.
A short presentation titled ‘The Climb’ was made by the most recent tennis scholar Gavin Lewis who left Guyana’s shores in January 2015 to pursue studies in Criminal Law and Psychology and play college tennis at the Coppin State University in Maryland. He uttered words of gratefulness for his tennis life which started with Coach Debbie Bunbury in 2004 through tennis camps and ended with Coach Shelly Daly in 2014 in the National Team. His first year was extremely successful both in academics and tennis.
President of GTA, Grace McCalman, expressed her optimism about tennis in Guyana even as she winds down her tenure and sees the latter half of 2015 as a historic juncture that signals a new dawn for tennis in the nation. The association is spending much effort to foster better relations by developing policies and procedures to alleviate the inconsistencies of information transferred among members, clubs, parents and coaches. An enhanced ranking system which is easier to understand was established and used to determine the overall winners.
She revealed that there were discussions with Guyana Olympic Association (GOA), Guyana Teachers Union (GTU) and the Department of Sport to tackle the two critical and basic factors of tennis development which are proper infrastructure and development programmes that expand tennis beyond Georgetown. She lamented the overwhelming task of finding resources to push tennis nationwide but that the GTU has now committed to providing assistance in this regard. She also reminded all present that the effort to develop tennis cannot only come from the GTA but rather all affiliate resources such as clubs, coaches, parents and the business community. She urged partner organisations to work with the GTA to incorporate sustainable tennis activity into the school curriculum for schools outside of Georgetown.
High on the Association’s agenda this year is working to implement the strategic plan for tennis in primary schools, refurbishment of the National Park courts and embarking on the development of the National Racquet Centre as a proper multi complex facility that incorporates lawn tennis, table tennis, squash and badminton, while making optimal use of the space available. This would have the potential to serve as an international hub for the Caribbean region.
She appealed to all coaches to put egos aside and work together and learn from each other as to make coaches workshops work and be productive.
President of the Guyana Olympic Association, Mr. K. A. Juman-Yassin advised that sporting associations must get on board with Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine’s vision for sport in Guyana. He explained that this should be an opportunity to work along with him to ensure sport in school is reestablished at a young age. He specifically made mention of the hard work that Coach Shelly Daly has dedicated through the years, but urged that the GTA continue to seek input from more coaches who can similarly commit to the job at hand to achieve even greater success.
Trevor Williams, who represented the Department of Sport, received applause from the audience as he proposed that sports persons should not pay airport tax, are recognized for the hard work that goes into preparation and upon return these persons should be welcomed by the media no matter the results posted. He reiterated the Government’s position to use lawn tennis and table tennis as pilots and to give full support to their undertakings.
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