GBTI Independence Jubilee / GLTA Open Championships
Five-time and defending GBTI / Guyana Lawn Tennis Association (GLTA) Open champion, Anthony Downes
is confident that he will make it six in a row when this year’s competition which has been dubbed the GBTI Independence Jubilee Open tournament is contested.
Downes is sending a warning to his opponents that he will be playing aggressive tennis. In an exclusive interview the Kopinang Region 8 player pointed out that he has his eyes set on returning to the big scene thus he will be competing internationally from the New Year.
“I have been training for several months now so this title is critically important in being ready for the big circuit,” he said. He disclosed that the GBTI Open competition is the biggest competition that players look forward to every year and his intentions is to make light work of all the players. I am very confident as I have been training mornings and evenings for several months. When a competition is finished, I begin immediately to prepare for the defense of that title as this is one of the most competitive sports,” he said.
Since the re-emergence of the competition in 2010, Downes has won the title every year and is aiming for a successful defense of his title. It was disclosed that he currently holds the most titles in any sponsored competition run by the association.
President Jamal Goodluck said that he expects a very competitive competition noting that it affords the country’s best players the chance to match skills against each other.
“This is an eagerly anticipated competition that everyone looks forward to and I can tell you that every player is coming out very confident to win their respective category,” he said.
Downes pointed out that he will be moving shortly to some of the South American countries with the aim of gaining exposure and stiffer competition. This, he noted will enhance his ability in being a better player. He also expressed the view that he is confident of doing well on the international scene.
The champion expressed the view that he hopes other youths from his native village of Kopinang will follow in his footsteps of making tennis a competitive sport. He confessed that while his longtime coach and father Rafel Downes who is currently the REO for Region 8 is exceptionally busy with managing the region, he will still be able to do well.
“My dad cannot attend several of my matches and more so my training sessions as he is the REO and has been very busy, but whenever he can he tries to be there. He is confident that I am ready to defend successfully and once I execute the game plan properly then this year’s title is already in the bag,” he declared.
The young hinterland tennis star expressed the view that the GLTA should aggressively endeavor to take the sport to the various communities stressing that he remains confident that a number of youths would be interested.
“Tennis is a very expensive sport, as a matter of fact all sports are expensive as effective training is a critical factor in achieving the expected outcome. However how can one train properly if they cannot afford the basic equipment and resources needed to enhance their ability to compete effectively? This is not just jumping unto a tennis court and hitting a ball, it is more than just that. The balls to train, the rackets to train, the right foods to eat while training and so much more are critically important in the overall success of this” he said.
He admitted that had it not been for the generous support and assistance of a number of persons and companies his growth and development in the sport would have been impossible.
Meanwhile, Competition Coordinator Robert Bostwick disclosed that this year’s competition has seen the largest number of participations with some 60+ persons slated to compete in the various categories.
He said that he expects a very high level of competition noting that despite the challenges in terms of preparations, everything is in place for the eagerly anticipated competition. He boasted that the GBTI competition is one of the most sought after competitions owing to the level and standard; prizes are equally attractive also.
“This is a competition that is considered to be the best within Guyana and this year we will see some competitors representing Uganda and Brazil,” he added.
While Downes is the Male Open defending champion, Nicola Ramdyan is the Female defending champion. The mixed doubles was won last year by Daniel Lowe and Aretta Dey, while the male doubles defending champions are Jason Andrews and Anthony Downes; Afruica Gentle and Carol Humphrey won the female doubles title.
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