Tennis Association rewards 2016 top performers
Despite a late start to the Guyana Tennis Association (GTA) third annual awards ceremony, the event provided its small audience with distinction reflective of the grand sport of tennis.
Hosted at the Le Ressouvenir Tennis Club, the association sought to recognise players and individuals who continuously give of themselves with the expectation of elevating tennis in Guyana.
Master of Ceremonies, Shaquille Bourne, acknowledged the presence of distinguished guests Mitsy Campbell- PRO of Ministry of Public Health; Director of Sport Christopher Jones; Professor Dawn Duke- former tennis player of Roraima Tennis Club; and tennis scholar Gavin Lewis.
According to a release from the GTA, “The ceremony was a moment of reflection on the hard work done during 2016 to build the organisation as an institution that provides development opportunities for the children and nation, as pointed out by the President of the association, Jamal Goodluck.”
The release stated, “Lots of work was done to build on the policies to guide the association beyond the executive. Former President Grace McCalman and now Chair of Mini Tennis recounted the work of the association over recent years to establish documented procedures and systems to ensure a smooth flow of operations and to forge better relationships between executives, coaches and parents.”
“To date there is now a tournament manual, an online ranking scheme, a player ranking table and guidelines for travelling player, coach, parent and chaperon. Further work is almost complete to establish contracts for better output for all official jobs.”
Work is being done to strengthen the association internally, while the association agonises waiting for the sports authorities to help to develop proper tennis courts and to increase the number of coaches and equipment for the expansion and development of tennis nationwide.
Director of Sports, Christopher Jones, raised the hope and excitement of the tennis community with his announcement of a signed MoU between the two entities and lights at the National Racquet Centre before the Inter Guiana Games (IGG) in October.
Cheers echoed the space from the enthusiastic persons at the prospect of finally seeing some light in the journey of building the dream of a home for tennis. This point was made earlier by President, Jamal Goodluck, that this year the association will do everything to have facilities of acceptable standard before IGG.
Goodluck also thanked the sponsors who have always stuck with tennis during the years. Special mention was made of Trophy Stall, represented by Devi Sunich, GBTI, Bakewell, parents, players and the media. President Goodluck also pointed out Travis Hopkinson of NCN, Neketa Forde and Delvon McEwan who have now become part of the tennis family through their extensive support.
Coming in for high praises was overseas-based Dr. Arthur Ingram Hazlewood, who once again sponsored the awards and has been financially supporting the GTA for the past six years. Additionally, Professor Duke made her annual donation to the GTA for 2016.
Senior Male Year-end winner: Anthony Downes (5200 points)
Senior Female Year-end winner: Cristy Campbell (3200 points)
Junior Male Year-end winner: Heimraj Resaul (7550 points)
Junior Female Year-end winner: Afruica Gentle (6775 points)
Most Improved Junior player: Mark McDonald
The sixth edition Trophy Stall Doubles winners also shared in the spotlight of last evening’s event.
Men’s Open Doubles winners: Jason Andrews and Anthony Downes
Runners-up: Heimraj Resaul and Jordan Beaton
Ladies Open Doubles winners: Cristy Campbell and Afruica Gentle
Runners-up: Nicola Ramdyhan and Shelly Daly-Ramdyhan
Mixed Open Doubles winners: Anthony Downes and Afruica Gentle
Runners-up: Heimraj Resaul and Kalyca Fraser
Men’s Over-35 Doubles winners: Leyland Leacock and Ronald Murray
Runners-up: Alexander Almeida and Sandeep Chand
In her remarks, Afruica Gentle passionately described her desire for the last three years to achieve the top spot in junior tennis. She thanked her parents for their support and Cristy Campbell for personal training as she gave an early hint that she will not relinquish the title for 2017.
Heimraj Resaul thanked his parents and coaches and friends for their support. He also joked about leaving the Under-14 category this year, but knowing that there will always be good competition among his close rivals Joshua Kalekyezi, Jordan Beaton and Mark McDonald.
Senior Female awardee Cristy Campbell thanked her mother Misty, coaches Dexter and Rebecca for their support and her friend Nigel Niles for introducing her to tennis. She also wished all players an injury-free year and charged them to execute good sportsmanship throughout the year.
Awards were also presented to Samuel Barakat and Harry Panday, both tennis veterans with private lighted tennis courts, in recognition of their continuous support for tennis activities and to Grace McCalman for her continuous selflessness, hard work and dedication to the GTA.