The Cap Maison Eastern Caribbean Tennis Championships came to a close on Saturday with a prize giving ceremony with several high profile individuals in attendance including the Minister of Sports, Minister of Tourism, President of the St Lucia Olympic Committee and tennis officials from Martinique, St Vincent and Antigua.
Over 100 players competed in this tournament which took place from March 29 to April 4 at the National Tennis Centre. The competition attracted players from Antigua and St Vincent.
As you are aware, Antigua and St Vincent are not the only islands in the Eastern Caribbean. With that in mind President of the St Lucia Tennis Association, Stephen McNamara said: “We felt we had to make a start and the hope is as the years go by, this tournament will attract many more of our sister islands. I am sure it will. Hopefully economic conditions in the region will improve and that will assist in people being able to travel.”
He went on to say: “Now that we have started this tournament we will not let go of it. We hope it will grow in stature and participation and include all the islands of the Eastern Caribbean who are involved in tennis.”
Minister of Tourism, Lorne Theophilus, welcomed everyone and said: “Tournaments such as this do more for our country than just bring ivisitors to our shores; the key thing is
the collaboration and friendships that are developed that endure over time and decades.”
In thanking Cap Maison for their sponsorship he remarked: “Clearly we are seeing that some of our partners within the tourism industry are actually giving back to the community and are good corporate citizens.”
He gave his assurance that with Cap Maison again coming on board, the SLTA will have the collaboration of the St Lucia Tourist Board next year.
Minister of Sports, Shawn Edward, pointed out that while sports like cricket, football and swimming frequently take part in inter-regional or inter-island competition, we do not seem to have that same level of collaboration in tennis. With that in mind the minister said: “I am particularly pleased to know there is a concerted effort by associations including tennis to get the Eastern Caribbean Championships going.”
Edward was unclear as to his ministry’s involvement in this tournament but gave his commitment that next year, there will be a much stronger presence by the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports.
During the prize giving ceremony one of St Lucia’s all time tennis greats Vernon Lewis was applauded, not only for winning the Mens Open Singles title, but for his sterling contribution to tennis on and off the court.
During his acceptance speech Lewis who has been a player for decades thanked the sponsor and SLTA and said “this is the best tennis has ever been in St Lucia during my whole time here.”
Things though are not all hunky dory with the association and Lewis alluded to that. He called on everyone to put their differences aside, focus on the game and not the people. His remarks were greeted with thunderous applause.
Following are the winners in the various age categories: Mens Open Singles, Vernon Lewis (St Lucia); Womens Open Singles, Luka Lyttle (International Team); Mens Open Doubles, Carlton Bedminister/Osei Harris (IT); Women’s Open Doubles, Denee Lyttle/Luka Lyttle (IT); Mixed Doubles Open, Vernon Lewis/Jayda Hunte (St Lucia); Girls 12 and Under, Meggan William (St Lucia); Girls 14 and Under, Meggan William; Girls 18 and Under, Luka Lyttle (IT); Boys 10 and Under, Akeil Deroche (IT); Boys 14 and Under, Adriel Bousquet (St Lucia); Boys 12 and Under, Nicholas St John (St Lucia); Boys 18 and Under, Ajani Thomas; Boys 12 and Under Doubles, Maxx William/Aryan Gupta (St Lucia); Boys 14 and Under Doubles, Adriel Bousquet/Niall Ashworth