Road Tennis players to tour C’bean


THE Barbados Road Tennis Association is sending local players and coaches to tour the Caribbean in an attempt to promote and further develop Barbados’ only indigenous sport.
With the desire of hosting the first World Road Tennis Tournament in November 2016, the Barbados Road Tennis Association (BRTA) in partnership with the National Sports Council has embarked on the second stage of its plan. The first stage was a workshop held here in Barbados where seven countries attended seminars and were educated as to the rules and regulations of road tennis, along with some training in the game and its necessary equipment.
The second stage has already started where players and management have toured St. Lucia and the response in the island was very favourable. The other countries to be toured between May 9 and June 30 include St. Vincent, Antigua, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Cuba and Guyana. The length of each tour varies, but the larger islands will have tours of four to five days while the smaller islands will be toured in a space of two to three days. 
Each team participating will be made up of two players and a coach and one of the stipulations is that a female player be part of the team. This is to ensure that both genders progress as the growth of road tennis moves through the islands.
Speaking to the media at the press conference to announce the plans of the BRTA, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth Stephen Lashley stated that this was an important juncture for road tennis. He expressed the vision of the ministry and the National Sports Council along with the BRTA, that road tennis be one day seen as a worldwide sport. He also reinforced his view that the need for promotion of the game was necessary and that it would further develop the structure and management of the game, first in the Caribbean and then internationally. Lashley also spoke about the intention of the BRTA to promote and market the tour in each country before each event in the hope of capturing the imagination of the wider public.
The National Sports Council along with the Professional Road Tennis Association have been pivotal in the restoration of road tennis in Barbados. Minister Lashley lauded their contribution and stated that with renewed effort and focus by the BRTA, the World Road Tennis Federation (WRTF) will be revived. The WRTF is the governing body of road tennis, but has fallen into dormancy over the last few years. It is the plan of the BRTF, along with the National Sports Council, to form local associations within each Caribbean island participating in the tour and then have them under one association, which would be the WRTF. 
One of the organisers of the tour, McArthur Barrow, admitted that past tours had done well, but the interest dwindled after due to lack of follow-up. The governance of the federation would ensure that there is adequate follow-up as well as a yearly restructuring to further develop the game. (AS)


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