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Road tennis action

Major tournament begins next week

The Cream of the Crop Road Tennis Tournament gets going next week but fan favourites Julian “Michael Jackson” White and Antonio “Lil Man” Daniel will not be part of the action.

This was revealed today by president of the Professional Road Tennis Association, Dale Clarke, during the launch of the competition at the headquarters of the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC), Harbour Road, St Michael, today.

From left, CMC’s Patricia Greenidge, road tennis champion Mark Griffith, president of the Professional Road Tennis Association, Dale Clarke and Michelle Straughn of MR Global at today’s briefing.

From left, CMC’s Patricia Greenidge, road tennis champion Mark Griffith, president of the Professional Road Tennis Association, Dale Clarke and Michelle Straughn of MR Global at today’s briefing.

Clarke said both players had been invited to compete in the tournament but had declined. He gave no reason for their decision. White has captured more titles than any other player in the island and Daniel is one of the most exciting players to ever take to the court.

The imminent tournament is an invitational competition and is one of the major efforts of Clarke’s organization to put Barbados’ indigenous sport on the global sporting map. He revealed that eight players had been invited to take part and the two finalists, along with two Under-21 players and three females would be taken to the United States as part of a promotional tour.

“We see this as a major opportunity to get our sport into the US market and we have been getting great feedback from North America,” he said.

Clarke explained that the preliminary rounds of the tournament would be played in Barbados from August 13 to 17 at the Villages at Coverley, Christ Church, and the finals would be contested in New York on August 29. Regional viewers, as well as fans in Canada, United Kingdon and the United States, will be able to follow the action via Carib Vision. The finals will be played at St Andrew’s Park, Herkimer Street, Brooklyn, New York –– an area with a heavy Barbadian population, as well as other West Indians.

The eight players who will be competing are Mark “Venom” Griffith, Curtis Jones, Aaron Barker, Shawn Spencer, Marson Johnson, Dario Hinds,  Emar Edwards and Kyle King.

Clarke also revealed that a fluorescent ball would be introduced to road tennis during the tournament. He explained that many spectators often complained of not being able to follow the traditional ball during matches and the innovation was intended to deal with that issue.

The tournament will carry a first prize of $5 000, second prize of $2 500 with $1,000 going to each losing semi-finalist.

Plans are also afoot to take the game to St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Guyana during the year.

Marketing representative with CMC, Patricia Greenidge, revealed that her organization had entered into a three-year partnership with the Professional Road Tennis Association to assist in the development of the sport regionally and internationally. She noted that all tournaments held by the association during that period would be broadcast via CMC’s cable channel Carib Vision and offered to the respective stations in the region, as well as Canada, United States and United Kingdom.

 She said the tournament would be streamed directly from New York.

 Sales manager for The Villages at Coverley, Katherine Perkins, said all the logistics for the staging of the tournament at that Christ Church location had been taken care of and fans could anticipate to avail themselves of all the amenities which the location had to offer.

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