Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Dwight Sutherland, recently met with the president and representatives of the Barbados Road Tennis Association to discuss the future of road tennis in Barbados.
During the exploratory meeting, Minister Sutherland lauded the efforts of the Barbados Road Tennis Association to regulate, unify and develop road tennis. He pointed out that the Ministry was fully committed to working with the association to commercialise the sport, and to have it fully developed across communities in Barbados, and with international sporting associations. President of the Barbados Road Tennis Association, John Chandler, stated that the association was desirous of revamping its image, and was committed to increasing participation and providing guidance in the sport for all ages and both genders.
He pointed out that special emphasis would be placed on the recruitment and participation of youth within communities, as well as the establishment of a coaching academy towards the further development of road tennis in Barbados.
The Minister said he was very pleased to hear of the association’s plans, and indicated that road tennis was an indigenous sport which needed greater attention.
He also used the opportunity to inform the members of the association of the Ministry’s plans to further develop a sports industry in Barbados, which includes making road tennis an internationally recognised professional sport.
According to Minster Sutherland, “Trinidad has contributed the steel pan; Jamaica has contributed reggae and Britain has contributed golf. It is the intention of Barbados to contribute road tennis to the world”.
He added that in order to reach that standard, all stakeholders would need to collaborate to elevate road tennis to a level of distinction and excellence, and as expressed in Government’s manifesto, Government was fully committed to elevating road tennis to the next level.
This would include improving playing surfaces, quality of tournaments, youth systems, merchandise, equipment, promotion and marketing.
Other efforts to revamp the sport will include having all schools participate in weekly training and taking part in an annual road tennis competition. Minister Sutherland noted that most, if not all, schools are outfitted with carparks and hard courts for other sporting activities, and road tennis infrastructure must be encouraged at all primary and secondary schools.
The association also announced the hosting of a National Independence Road Tennis Championship for 2020 and the publishing of an information booklet on the rules and “Ins and Outs” of how road tennis is played.