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Tennis tournaments provides more opportunities for junior players

  • The annual FOCOL tennis tournament was held this weekend in Freeport, Grand Bahama. Due to delays, results for a number of finals were not available up to press time. FILE

Guardian Sports Reporter

Published: Oct 28, 2013

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With a team just returning from one of the highest ranking youth tournaments in the region, and the FOCOL tennis tournament taking place in Freeport, Grand Bahama, it’s no wonder why Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA) President Derron Donaldson is smiling from ear-to-ear.

According to the league’s president, the more tournaments available for Bahamians youth and junior players to compete in, betters their chances of playing in the International Tennis Federation (ITF). Even though the four-member team of Elana Mackey, Sydney Clarke, Kofi Bowe and Donte Armbrister weren’t able to win any matches at the ITF/GSDF 12 and Under Wilson COTECC Team Masters, in Centro Teneistico, Monterrey Nuevo Leon, Mexico, Donaldson said they picked up a lot of experience and gained exposure.

For the more than 50 junior tennis players competing at the FOCOL tournament, Donaldson said they are all working towards earning local points, which will assist in their bid to compete on the regional and international levels.

“They did their best considering the competition that they were up against,” said Donaldson. “We realize our downfalls or shortcomings and are working hard to fixing them, as we want to give all of our players an opportunity to compete at a higher level. A structured training program is needed, along with more cohesiveness. I think that that particular team should be commended for their efforts. This is the first time the ITF is having this event and small federations like ours thank them for creating a tournament for younger players.

“Our team was really young. Kofe Bowe who replaced Jacobi Bain is only 10-years old. He played 12-year olds and held his own. That was good. He, along with the other players got the exposure and experience needed. This tournament will motivate them to train harder.”

The FOCOL tennis tournament, which concluded late yesterday, is just one of many scheduled for this month. Due to several delays, a number of the finals were pushed back, said tournament director Bradley Bain. Only two results were available up to press time, the under 8 boys’ championship, which was won by Michael Major 10-6 and 11-9 over Anthony Burrows Jr. and the girls’ 16 final. In that match, Iesha Shepard defeated Gabriel Donaldson 6-2 and 6-1. Both Shepard and Donaldson are into the final of the under 18 division. Playing for the 18 final title in boys were Freeport native Julio Valdes and Joshua Turnquest, a native of Eleuthera. Playing in the girls under 12 final were Emma Weech and Abigail Simms.

Weech is the number one seed and Simms played her way through the draw, despite getting a top ranking. Number one seed in the girls 14 Laurn Daxon played Hanna-Joy Simmons and Sydney Kerr teamed up with Weech to take on Doneisha Gibson and Dontae Turnquest in doubles action. Junior tennis players competed over three days in four divisions, for both boys and girls at the tournament.

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