After an almost two year break because of covid the popular Winterbotham IC Junior Development Tennis Series got underway again on the weekend at The National Tennis Centre.
The series designed to get young under 10’s and under 12’s in to competitive tennis in a friendly and enjoyable way has been a great success. Over 30 juniors competed in this initial start back competition. In order to give maximum interest to players they do not have a knockout competition but on Saturday play in Round Robin groups by age and sex. Then on Sunday the winners of groups play another round robin against each other as do the other opposite numbers from each Saturday group. That way on Sunday most players are competing with others of a similar level and all players are guaranteed several matches. The IC (International Tennis Club) whose motto is “hands across the net, friendship across the ocean”encourages good sportsmanship among those competing. They also ask parents and coaches present not to get involved in the matches but to be appreciative and supportive of all players. This way it creates an enjoyable experience for those who may be competing for the first time in a competitive environment and it is found that many friendships are created. The players are given a light lunch which also encourages them to stay around after their matches and make friends.
An important part of the event are “Sportsmanship Awards” given to a player who demonstrates good attitude on and off court. The boys winner of this was Ayai Bethel who was competing in this competition for the first time. So well done to Ayai. Congratulations also to Jasleen Salkey winner of the girls award. The IC looks forward to seeing them both as they develop in future competitions.
The winner of the girls 12’s was Brianna Houlgrave and Alec Hooper the winner of the boys 12’s. Unlike most of the competitors who were competing for the first time both of these were involved pre the covid break in the younger age group. It was good to see how they have progressed from the earlier series. In the 10’s age group all the competitors were new to The Winterbotham IC Junior Series and the winners were Cory Conyers for the boys and and Victoria Sandi-Aguilar for the girls.
The main IC organisers were Tara and Neil Mactaggart with Mickey Williams, together with Tournament Referee Everette Bannister. After the event they commented on the excellent atmosphere at the event from players, parents, coaches and supporters. It was clear that the young players had both benefitted and enjoyed the experience and will be back again next time when it is confident numbers will grow. The IC thanks the coaches from many areas of New Providence, Freeport and Artie Johnson from Eleuthera who have developed these young players and brought them in to this competition. It was especially noted what good attitudes and friendliness the young players exhibited which is something the coaches have built in to their development programs and are to be commended for.
Kit Spencer, President of The Bahamas IC, said the International Tennis Clubs (IC) are made up of 40 countries with players who have played to a high standard such as Davis Cup and want to keep the international camaraderie and competition going as they get older. In addition to older age events for its members the worldwide IC organisation has a philanthropic arm that works to develop tennis and personal development for kids in many poor areas of the world. In addition it runs a number of junior competitions such as The IC Rod Laver Junior Challenge which is a team competition for two boys and two girls 16 & under who play as one team. This is held on every continent one year with the winning teams going to The Worldwide Finals the next year. The Bahamas will host the North American Continent Event later this year. The last three Worldwide Finals have been held at Wimbledon, Monte Carlo and Tokyo – an outstanding experience for the juniors at world class venues. IC member and “Tennis Great” Rod Laver has lent his name to this competition. The IC sponsors the juniors in these event at no expense to them. In this respect Winterbotham Trust is thanked for its continued support of IC Bahamas activities that helps make such things possible. For more information on the International Clubs (IC) got to www.ictennis.net
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