The notion that tennis in Dominica is for the elite no longer exists and the sport is becoming increasingly popular as the years go by.
Minster for Sports, Youth and Culture and Community Empowerment, Justina Charles expressed that point of view while speaking at the official opening of the Dominica Tennis Association (DTA) 2017 Caribbean Alliance Insurance National Junior Tennis Tournament over the weekend.
“Though I welcome the role of the association, mention must be made of persons such as Andy Carter, who is here with us, and Billy Doctrove, through his company, Kianne Adams, and others who have kept the sport alive over the years and are largely responsible for taking the sport to different centers of our society,” she said.
Charles also commended the parents who continue to support the involvement of their children in the sport “in intangible ways.”
“We must commend you and encourage you to continue in this,” she said.
According to her, the collaboration between individuals and associations is something that reflects a sense of cooperation and determination among those involved.
“It is is pleasing to see that there is some coming together of various individuals and associations in making this giant step towards organising a national tournament,” she stated.
Charles expressed the hope that the tournament will become an annual event where the sport can grow and exceed its expectations.
She encouraged players to enhance their skills so as to make full use of future sports infrastructure, including government’s decision to develop the Stockfarm site as a sports complex.
“It is clear that we are catering for you the young people, the sports men and women. It is therefore incumbent on you to take your sports seriously and work hard to improve at your games so that full use can be made of these facilities. It is all good to have the facilities but, it is equally important that we have persons to utilize them and to take advantage of their availability,” Charles stated.
She added that with the development of these facilities comes responsibility and urged all to “take ownership” of the facilities when they are completed. She also called on the associations to ensure that programs are developed to assist the young players improve their skills.
The Minister said she looks forward to the many positives that will come from the tournament.
The National Junior Tennis Tournament was organized for both boys and girls, under the age of 18 and was subdivided into Under 14 and Under 18 categories, with the headline sponsor of the event being Caribbean Alliance Insurance.