Approximately $40,000 has been spent to fully renovate the public tennis court in East End/Long Look on Tortola.
President of the BVI Tennis Federation Carol Matthew-Mitchell said the project reached completion on April 19 after the court was resurfaced.
“This resurfacing was the major part — the icing on the cake and we had to do that. But the whole facility — the net, the post, the building, everything was destroyed. Thanks to Bio Safe Treatment & Septic Solution and the crew who really put it together. We have two big supporters on board — Bio Safe Treatment & Septic Solution and the BVI Olympic Committee which support our athletes financially,” Matthew-Mitchell said.
The resurfacing of the courts tallied to $12,500 while the re-fencing of the property and the rebuilding of the Clubhouse was estimated at more than $25,000.
Challenges faced by the Federation
While the Federation has made some progress since its inception years ago, it is still being faced with many challenges including raising awareness of the sport in the territory.
“We would love to do that one day but it takes a lot of funding and effort and the approval from government … Tennis is not a national sport in the territory — it’s going to take some time. But it has come a long way and with more public facilities, more awareness will come to the sport. There are only two public courts and it’s not giving us enough rope,” President Matthew-Mitchell said.
She also wants to get more schools involved in a local tennis programme but believes more courts will be needed to accomplish this goal territorial-wide.
“The federation at the moment is being youth-focused and school’s tennis will play a big role in bringing more awareness to the sports. And in order to do so, public courts will be needed on the sister islands” Matthew-Mithcell noted.
She continued: “We don’t have the funding. Again, that’s where government will hopefully play a role because they do put in for basketball courts and so we are hoping that even when they do basketball courts, they’ll count us in also.”
Another major obstacle in the path of the development of tennis in the territory, according to the President, is the lack participation from the private tennis centres in sanctioned events — an issue she hopes is resolved in the near future.
“We need the private centres to work with the Federation — the governing body — because as it is right now, there’s a division. They have their own thing going on and we have tried to get them involved but there is a resistance,” the tennis boss said.
She added: “COTECC, which is the regional governing body for tournaments, have maintained that all players wishing to play in a tournament have to be sanctioned by the federation … The private centres use to go to the tournaments in Antigua. but since the sanctioning came about — which is about two years ago — we have not had any of the private club players participated in reported tournaments. And competitive playing is very important for players’ development.”
Despite the setbacks and challenges, President Matthew-Mitchell has plans to break the Olympic barrier in the territory in the not too distant future.
“Our dream is to have one of our players to play in the 2022 youth Olympics but that player has to want to play, he has to be devoted. We get funding — the Olympic committee provides financial funding for that player to get involved. Hopefully, Deandrea Baijnauth is the young man who we are preparing to play in the youth Olympics” President Matthew-Mitchell said.
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