Apr 18, 2021 Sports
By Franklin Wilson
Kaieteur News – “Foremost I like to always give God thanks for everything and I’d also like to express profound gratitude to all the clubs which supported me.”
The words of five-time and reigning Tennis Queen, Cristy Campbell who was elected President of the Guyana Tennis Association (GTA) defeating Annabelle Carter-Sharma 11-3 for the post when the Association convened its Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Friday evening last at the National Racquet Centre. Woolford Avenue, Georgetown.
It was a high level of confidence placed in the 35 year-old Campbell who has vowed to take the sport to heights never before achieved. In executing her mandate, Campbell has been fortunate to have two former Presidents also elected on this new executive.
She becomes only the second female President of the in the GTA’s history after Grace McCalman (now a Life Member). The clubs present at Friday’s AGM were Sheltez, Roraima, Pumas, Non-Pariel, Everest, Wimbledon, Rebel, Guyana Tennis Coaches Association and United.
The meeting got underway just after 17:00hrs and lasted for less than 15-minutes during which time, reports from the Secretary and Treasurer were presented including the Audited Financial Statements (2019/2020) which were done by Auditing Firm, Parmesar.
Following a short break, Returning Officer for the elections as agreed to by the Executive Committee, Attorney-At-Law Ms. Sharon Small took over after expressing gratitude to the GTA for affording her the opportunity to serve in that capacity.
The elections were conducted smoothly from start to finish. The Guyana Tennis Coaches Association had submitted its list of nominees for the various positions which was acknowledged by the meeting.
The full executive reads: President-Cristy Campbell, First Vice President-Nigel Niles, Second Vice President-Surrendra Khayyam, Secretary-Delon Fraser, Treasurer-Ramesh Seebaran (Past President). The four Committee Members are Jamal Goodluck (Past President), Kimberly Conway, Marlin Henry and Renate Jordan.
One week before the AGM, immediate past President Samuel Barakat along with Tina Ram (Treasurer) and Shinessa Thompson (Secretary) had tendered their respective resignations.
Speaking with the media operatives who witnessed the entire AGM, President Campbell said that the campaign period was very competitive with tempers flaring but is assuring all that she holds no ill will or grudge towards anyone.
“I hope we can work cohesively top develop tennis which is our sport.” Recognised by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) in 2018 for Women in Sport Leadership Role, Campbell also noted that the work to be done to take tennis to higher levels goes beyond the reach of the nine-executive member body.
“We would need all of the players, the parents, the coaches, stakeholders, everyone to come on board. So I’m open to dialogue with anyone who has something meaningful to add to the development of Tennis.”
With Tennis now being categorized as a core sport by the Honourable Minister of Sport Charles Ramson Jr., Campbell, who was appointed to the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) Women in Sport Leadership Committee in 2020 posited that the shoes is made a bit bigger to fill.
“It means that we have a lot more work to do and I hope that we can decentralise tennis and introduce it to new areas because I don’t want people to feel that tennis is only for central Georgetown.”
Acknowledging that many far flung regions might have never been introduced to tennis, Campbell, who in 2019 was elected to serve as scrutineer for the ITF AGM & Elections in Lisbon Portugal along with Christopher Lai of Hong Kong and Mark Camilleri of Malta, said one of her aims would be to decentralize the sport.
“I’d like to decentralise tennis and disperse it throughout the country and see how best that works.”
The return to active ply is dependent on the current covid-19 pandemic as Campbell noted that the Association would be guided by the advice of the National Covid-19 Task Force in terms of resuming competition.
“Until we have that green light we cannot really preempt what would really happen for tennis but as long as facilities are open and it’s safe to play, we’re looking at the Inter Guiana Games which were scheduled for last year and of course you know the pandemic would have cancelled that; then the GBTI Open which is our premier slam. So hopefully, the pandemic eases a bit and we can hold both of them or one at least by July.”
The young visionary Campbell who again was elected to serve as an ITF Scrutineer in 2020 along with Julie Paterson, CEO Tennis New Zealand and Stuart Smith, a past President of London Tennis Association noted that she would be activating all overseas avenues as well as locally to ensure that the sport really takes off in Guyana.
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