For the first time ever you can now add tennis to the Inter School Sports program courtesy of LUCELEC, the St Lucia Tennis Association (SLTA) and the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports.
The announcement was made at a press conference on Thursday at the National Tennis Centre (NTC). Special guests included permanent secretary in the Ministry of Youth Development and Sports, Fortuna Belrose; Theophilia Charles of the Ministry of Education; Vice President of the SLTA, Digby Ambris; Manager of the NTC, Ricardo Bowe; and LUCELEC Official, Roger Joseph.
During her brief remarks Belrose said: “On behalf of the Government of St Lucia we would really like to commend the St Lucia Tennis Association for taking this initiative. I think it is the first time we are having an inter schools tennis tournament and from all indications we have over 200 children registered to participate.
There is a possibility that tennis may be included in the 2017 Junior Commonwealth Games being staged in St Lucia. With that in mind, the timing is right for the sport to be incorporated in the School Sports Program with the possibility of this country being represented by outstanding players.
Belrose went on to thank corporate sponsors including LUCELEC for assisting financially with the school sports program and various national sports federations like the SLTA who have come on board.
Speaking on behalf of LUCELEC, which recently made a significant investment in the School Sports Program, Joseph said: “Our support for youth development and sports is well documented. We see this inter school national tennis tournament, as an extension to the commitment we have made to the overall national School Sports Program.”
Joseph remarked that the company is delighted to have a non traditional sport like tennis brought into the school system this year and is impressed by the fact that over 30 schools island wide expressed interest in participating.
Bowe who manages the NTC and is also a certified coach, spoke of the SLTA having a development plan which involves setting up a particular structure, to ensure that the association promotes and improves tennis in St Lucia.
He pointed out that besides grass roots programs and school programs, one important ingredient of the development plan is the establishment of a schools tournament.
The competition encompasses a large group of players from primary schools and upwards all over the island including Choiseul and Vieux Fort. The competition being played at the NTC is from December 5-9.
In addition to the schools competition, Bowe mentioned that plans are underway to have an International Schools Tournament, where learning institutions from abroad come to St Lucia to compete against our schools.