By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
After launching an afterschool Tennis program at the Long Bay Tennis Courts on Wednesday afternoon followed by yesterday’s play day at the Long Look Public Tennis Courts, the BVI Tennis Association is wrapping up its program with a Jr. Tennis Tournament today and Saturday.
Today’s program targets 10 and under, will run from 4-6 p.m. while Saturday’s activities for 12 and under and 14 and under, will commence at 9:30 a.m.
Association president Carol Matthew said her body was given a grant by the BVI Olympic Committee to bring more awareness to the sport. Mitchell said that since May, they have been seeing more kids involved in the sport as they try to get the program off the ground and build towards the future. She said since they don’t have a home facility, they have to utilize what’s available.
“The journey began in May this year where we hired international Tennis expert Mike Burrell, who came and and started to help us bring more awareness to the sport,” she said. “This is the final stage of the development program and we launched our after school program on Nov 30, targeting players 6-14 years. The program will actually commence in January 2017.”
Matthew added: “Youths are our focus and, we are seeing more of them playing Tennis. But, our biggest challenge is facilities, a place to call home. Having our own facility will definitely sustain growth for our sport for both youth and adults.”
The school based program that began in September Mitchell said has been going well and they have been getting inquiries about it almost daily.
“We are hoping to begin seeing more of our juniors playing ITF tournaments at the youth level,” she said. “We are also planning on launching a capital campaign fund to find a place to call home as in a national Tennis center and that’s our goal for the next five years through 2021. We will begin the search in terms of facilities in 2017. To make a start in this endeavor, we are beginning with the capital campaign fund.”
Mitchell said persons interested in joining the program for beginners and intermediates can join them at the Long Look Public Courts on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 4-6 p.m. There’s a $25 monthly charge which includes the use of equipment.