By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
In her first 100 days at the helm of the BVI Tennis Association, Carol Mitchell is taking Tennis in the territory into a new realm. On Tuesdayafternoon, the association launched a Jr. Tennis Program at the Long Look Tennis Courts sponsored by the International Tennis Federation. The program began with 25 participants.
“The Jr. Tennis initiative is a 14 and under development program, which forms a key part of the national development players pathway and provides opportunities for increased participation in tennis as well as identifying the most talented players for focused development within our Virgin Islands,” Mitchell explained. “We are targeting as many players as possible. We do not have facilities and that’s our major problem right now. We are trying to get the private club involved—the Tortola Sports Club—but we are meeting a bit of resistance with the resident coaches, I’m not sure why. But, we intend and hope that all 14 and under, boys and girls, will participate and we encourage them to be part of this program.”
Mitchell noted there are only two public courts on Tortola—located in Long Look—and that’s why there has been chosen as the venue to launch the program. It’s under the Recreation Trust and they have permission to use them, which is a plus. “We were also hoping to do a launching at the Tortola Sports Club, but, that’s not happening,” she pointed out. “What we have done is to venture out to Virgin Gorda and Chris Yates, who owns Ole Yarde Village, she has two beautiful courts there and she has given us permission to use them and we are grateful for that. We will launch that program on Monday, Sept 21.”
Mitchell said it’s good to have the outer islands involved in the program. The Jr. Tennis initiative will run concurrently with the after school program. The program is a quarterly program running through December. At the end there will be a tournament within the program. This Mitchell said, keeps them mentally focused and helps their game.
“They will at least show what they have learnt within the three months,” she said. “Every quarter, we have to give a report to the ITF Development Officer of the progress of the program.”
When asked about her first 100 days in office, Mitchell said it has been a challenge.
“In anything anyone is doing—and it’s a good thing—there’s always a challenge,” she noted. “But, at the end of the road, I’m encouraged, because of the passion I have for the sport and I’m not going to be deterred. I’m loving it, I’m loving all the challenges coming my way.”