Apr 26, 2021 Sports
Kaieteur News –
By Sean Devers
Nicola Ramdyhan is presently attending of four-year Academic-Tennis Scholarship at the Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, USA.
However, because she has an extra year’s eligibility she plans to take advantage of a fifth year during which time she will read for her Master’s degree.
Nicola, who will graduate with a bachelor’s degree next month, spoke about her experiences at the US University, her life growing up and gave her views on what is needed for Guyana’s tennis to really thrive.
“At present the pandemic is not as bad as when it first hit. I am coping well with on-line classes and I am still taking precautionary measures,” informed Nicola who began the scholarship in 2017.
Nicola informed that she was able to secure the scholarship with the help of Guyanese Bill Adams who has a Tennis Academy in Florida.
“Not only was I training under his care but he helped me with contacting the Coach and preparing the Video for the recruiting process. The biggest benefits I will take from this scholarship is definitely my degree and the experience of playing at the Collegiate level and improving my game and connecting with a lot of people during my time here,” explained Nicola, one of three Guyanese Tennis players on Scholarships in the USA; the others being Afruka Gentle and Hemraj Resaul.
Nicola said the Culture and climate in Atlanta is very different from that of Guyana.
“It’s definitely different but I have learned and grown to enjoy the South Culture, particularly knowing that some of the key civil rights Movement events happened here.
There are lots of tourist attractions in Atlanta as well… and in terms of the food, I love the soul food but there are cuisines from different cultures too. The climate is usually chilly, even during the warm months and I miss the tropical weather back home.
I live on Campus and I mainly prepare my own meals. I am a sucker for curry and split peas cook-up and fried fish,” disclosed Nicola.
“My most memorable moment on the court was my very first singles at the Collegiate level. It was against the University of West Georgia and it came down to my match being the decider. I was so tired but I managed to pull it off in three sets and my school won,” remembered Nicola proudly.
Nicola’s name was also featured on a billboard in addition to her being honoured with a cash award.
“It was so exciting to be featured on a billboard, especially during Black history month. It was a chance to highlight students from Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and I was honoured to be selected. I was also happy to be one of the recipients of the cash award and I plan to put it towards my books for Grad school,” Nicola added.
Born on January 9 in Guyana’s Capital City to Andre Ramdyhan and Shelly Daly, 23-year-old National Lawn Tennis player Nicola has seven siblings.
Nicola, who developed an interest in Tennis from her Mom who was a National Tennis player, attended the St Joseph High and Bishops High schools.
“I lived in North East Lapenatence then moved to Lodge. It was a great life growing up because it was mainly my two sisters and mom. Even though she is strict, especially about our education, it was always fun to hang out with each other,” informed Nicola who dabbled a bit in cricket and track during her schooldays.
Nicola, who represents the Park Players (now Sheltez Tennis Club) has played in Suriname, French Guiana and Caribbean Countries like St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, St Lucia, Curacao and the Dominican Republic and first represented Guyana at eight, playing in the U-10s.
Nicola played in mostly ITF Junior tournaments and disclosed that the biggest challenge playing the sport in Guyana is not having the facilities that were up to the standard compared to the other countries.
“But that did not stop my mom from training us though. She made sure that we used what we had and she was still able to produce high level players,” continued Nicola, who beat her mom and coach Shelly, to take the Assuria Ladies Singles Open Championship in 2015.
“The standard of tennis in Guyana is getting better and it’s evident that the players have been doing well in tournaments … pre-Covid. There are several others that compete and have competed in the Collegiate level as well.
However, to really take Guyana’s Tennis forward we need more facilities so that we can accommodate Regional and International tournaments in the future.
I think we need more financial support from the Government and GOA so players can have more opportunities to be provided with top level training and to compete at International tournaments. Lack of funding usually prevents us from getting as much Regional and International experience as we should be getting,” revealed Nicola who loves to paint, drawn, sing, crotchet, roller skate and read.
The talented young woman advised the young players, especially girls, to continue to put in the work to perfect their skill, always play each point as if it’s the last and remember to have fun doing it.
“I’d like to say thank you to everyone who has supported and encouraged me on my journey thus far, especially my parents and family, Mr Bill Adams and the executives and members of the Sheltez Tennis Club. No matter where I am always representing my home,” Nicola disclosed who is striving to become a Certified Public Accountant and work in the Tax Industry.
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