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BLTA president unsure of running again

Donaldson also serves as vice president in the Bahamas Olympic Committee
Guardian Sports Reporter

Published: May 02, 2013

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If the decision to run for office again was as easy as playing tennis, incumbent President Derron Donaldson might serve up several aces.

Just hours before the executive members in the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA) head to the polls, Donaldson is still trying to decide whether or not he should throw his name in the hat for the top spot in that association, or just pass the racket on to someone else. The election of officers will be held tonight at the BLTA’s National Tennis Centre. The indecisive Donaldson said many people think he only wears two hats, but he is also a husband and a father which is just as challenging if not more than carrying out his duties in the two executive positions he holds. He is also one of the newly elected vice presidents of the Bahamas Olympic Committee (BOC).

“I am still debating with myself, and that is the honest answer to the question of me running again. I had a long year that felt like three or four years so I have to really reconsider. When you add in the fact that I got married last year and have a very young child, the meetings, tournaments, events that I had to be present to and all the phone calls at any hour, it is a whole lot. It is a lot on me, but most importantly my wife and three-year-old child. I have a full time job and the newest hat, the vice president in the BOC, is very challenging. It will be a lot so that is something I will have to really sit down in the final hour and discuss once again with my wife. I love tennis, it is my passion, my job and I have benefited from the sport a lot, but I have mixed emotions. I am not 100 percent sure at this time.”

Donaldson made history when he became the youngest president of the BLTA. He was elected in April of last year. Since then, a number of programs have been implemented under his watch. He is extremely proud of those programs, noting that the sport was the first to stage games in Rawson Square, at Town Centre Mall and at a number of children’s homes here in New Providence. A record number of schools are now playing tennis because of the Play and Stay program and the After School Outreach program, headed by Technical Director Bradley Bain.

Over the past year, Donaldson said his executive team has worked extremely hard to make sure that tennis can be played anywhere in the country.

“I was told that I was baptized by fire but through it all I prevailed, and I agree,” said Donaldson. “When I came in, we were in the hole and not sitting pretty with the international committee. I met a bill for more than $100,000 and that was my major headache, worrying if we would get suspended or expelled from the International Tennis Federation (ITF). We needed to clean it up, and fast. I knew a suspension would have been bad but the expulsion would have been worse. That would have meant no Fed Cup, Davis Cup nor any junior tournaments for athletes of The Bahamas.

“During a little chat with my treasurer, he pointed out that the bill was a major obstacle and created a lot of stress for the executives. In the end we pulled through. We got assistance and advice from an independent committee allowing us to focus on governing the association, trying not to turn all of our attention to the outstanding bill or the consequences. Don’t get me wrong, every subject or matter was important to us, including the development of our junior athletes. The executives had no doubt that the financial matter would be cleared and the advice given by persons on the independent committee would be beneficial. Some of those members were Mickey Williams, Pippa Vlasov, Bruno Roberts and Terry North, just to call a few names.”

Donaldson thanked all who made his load a little lighter by assisting with the growing sport. He thanked the staff at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture; the Ministry of Tourism; the international body; parents and players. As he congratulated persons who made the various teams this year, he encouraged those who were close to being selected to continue working hard. A number of Bahamian tennis players have climbed the ranks, after winning tournaments on the regional and international scenes.

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