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BLTA plans to add two new associations under its umbrella

Four-member team playing in tennis tournament held in Mexico
  • Derron Donaldson.

Guardian Sports Reporter

Published: Oct 24, 2013

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A more aggressive approach has been taken by the executive members of the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA) in an attempt to meet the growing demands of their junior development program.

The two new associations that were recently formed will spearhead a number of the initiatives that will be implemented in the BLTA.  Taking a page out of the local track and field association’s book, the BLTA now has a parents’ and coaches’ association.  According to President of the BLTA Derron Donaldson, several changes will have to be made to the constitution.

“It is our goal to meet the growing demand of the sport, placing a lot more emphasis on our junior program,” he said.

“The BLTA is made up of a board of 12 persons, so it is kind of hard for us to meet every obligation –   hence, the reason why we decided to form, or add, the other two associations.  We’ve noticed that track and field has done it and had major success since they added them.  So we wanted to mimic them, since they are one of the more notable sports in the country.  It is imperative that we get out juniors and younger players competing at a higher standard.  Yes, we have seen or had a number of successes, but we want to continue to climb in the region and on the international levels.”

A four-member team is currently representing the country at the ITF/GSDF Wilson 12 and Under COTECC Team Masters in Centro Tenistico, Monterrey Nuevo Leon, Mexico.  The Bahamas is playing out of Pool A for both boys and girls.  The team includes Elana Mackey, Sydney Clarke, Kofi Bowe and Donte Armbrister.  The team has yet to pick up a match win, in both divisions.

In the first singles match against Mexico A squad, Mackey fell to Dianela Rodriguez, 3-6 and 3-6.  In doubles, Rodriguez and Marquina won over Clarke and Mackey, 6-4 and 6-2.

Mexico also swept the boys, with Andres Villanueva defeating Bowe, 6-0, and Arturo Perales handing Armbrister, 6-1 and 6-2.  The Mexicans won the doubles, 6-0 and 6-0.  The Bahamas was defeated, 3-0, by Guatemala, with Mackey falling to Maria Gabriela Rivera, 2-6 and 2-6.  But Galindo defeated Clarke, 6-3 and 6-3.  Armbrister and Bowe got a win in doubles play, defeating Ricky Mallory and Benjamin Lines, 6-4 and 6-3.  The win came minutes after the Bahamian duo fell in singles.

Donaldson said: “We are ranked number one in the region in this age group and that there is a feat in itself.  The problem we have as a country is matching up against the Spanish-speaking nations that are in our region.  It is clear that their players have a more structured program and training regiment, which always offers their players more exposure.  They play a lot of tennis, competitive tennis at a high level.

“We are trying to get our programs at that level.  Hopefully, the new committees formed will assist us with that.  In fact, the parents’ association has already started working.  I’ve been in contact with a number of the coaches, who are willing to work together.  The key to our success is to ensure that everyone is working together and that we have a cohesive unit.”

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