Perry Newton, president of the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association. Photo: Austin Fernander/Tribune Staff
#By TENAJH SWEETING
#Tribune Sports Reporter
#FOLLOWING a busy two weeks at the National Tennis Centre (NTC), beginning with a regional training camp and concluding with the U14 Junkanoo Bowl, BLTA president Perry Newton was impressed with the development and competition levels on display.
#The BLTA held the first ever hosting of the International Tennis Federation (ITF)- COTECC regional training camp for English-speaking countries over the course of a few days earlier in November.
#After the training camp was completed for 12 of the top under-14 players from the host country, Trinidad and Tobago, St Lucia, Curaçao and Barbados, the U14 Junkanoo Bowl followed behind and wrapped up on Wednesday at the NTC.
#Newton was particularly happy that the juniors got to experience the opportunity to compete and develop with players from other English-speaking countries within the region.
#“I am so excited that the children had this opportunity. I am very glad everything went how we planned, especially the weather holding up on the final day.
#“Bahamians were able to capture a few titles in the finals so we are happy with that. The kids have really shown what they have been working on all year and it was a good way to end for the under-14s,” the BLTA president said.
#Among the Bahamians to capture titles at the COTECC event sponsored by Custom Computers included Patrick Mactaggart and Tatyana Madu in the singles matchups. Madu, of Grand Bahama, was in cruise control in her last two rounds of the U14 Junkanoo Bowl tournament. The 14-year old was the number one seed in the girls singles division and dropped Curaçao’s Keziah Fluonia in two sets 7-6(3), 6-1. In the finals, she ousted Trinidad and Tobago’s Makeda Bain in consecutive sets 6-0, 6-3 to win one of two titles in the event. She earned her second trophy alongside Bain in the doubles finals against Bahamian Briana Houlgrave and Fluonia.
#The BLTA president praised the efforts of Madu and other top juniors in the competition for their work on the courts.
#“We had a good showcase, it was really good for our top players in U14 to win the finals. Tatyana was a top player in this tournament. It is really good to see her development as she is from Grand Bahama. It showcases the talent we have across the country for her to be the top U14 girl and end her U14 run with a win at home,” he said.
#John Goede, ITF development officer for the Caribbean, led the charge at the regional training camp and complimented the efforts of the BLTA and competitors from the host country.
#“On behalf of ITF and COTECC I would like to thank the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association for hosting this and making this possible. It did not look like it would happen in the Caribbean and we are very grateful that The Bahamas took it up and made this happen,” Goede said.
#He noted that having the top players from different islands of The Bahamas including Grand Bahama and Eleuthera available for the regional training camp was commendable.
#“I have seen the players develop a lot. It is always wonderful to be in one of the very few countries in the Caribbean where girls tennis is big. I always appreciate that there are a lot more girls playing tennis here on an historic level since I have been the development officer,” he concluded.
#The other winners from the U14 Junkanoo Bowl were Barbados’ Dimitri Kirton and Curaçao’s Brandon Bridgewater in the boys’ doubles finals.