Leading youth tennis players Louis Kalle Dalla Costa and Em-Myriam Campbell-Smith are among 15 local athletes who will be serving off at the Sagicor Junior International Tennis Tournament in Saint Lucia, starting tomorrow.
The duo along with Novak Malcolm, Christopher George-Khan, Oliver Harragin, Jacob Jacelon, Cyra Jayne Ramcharan, Suri Ann Ramcharan, Abba Campbell Smith, Aaron Subero, Yeshowah Campbell-Smith, Shiloh Walker, Madison Khan, Arya Siewrattan and Isobel Alleyne, will be competing against athletes from 14 other countries. They are St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Grenada, India, Suriname, Guyana, USA, Mexico, Canada, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, St Kitts & Nevis, The Bahamas, and El Salvador.
The international junior tennis tournament was launched at the Jonathan H Everett Conference Room, Olympic House, Le Clery in Castries yesterday with remarks from Stephen McNamara, president, St Lucia Tennis Association, Sherlon Leon, Sales Manager, St Lucia; Sagicor Life (Eastern Caribbean) Inc, the sponsor, and Saralee Williams, Sports Officer, Ministry of Youth Development and Sports.
McNamara was pleased to welcome the return of the tournament and thanked Sagicor for partnering with the Association once again to provide opportunities for our athletes and by extension the rest of the region.
He said, “Several things happened over the past five years that led to this significant name change from COTECC to International. Due to the level of participation by the region and the rest of the world, St Lucia was able to attract players and coaches from outside our region - this was because of the event being changed from a grade three to a grade one. As a result, it is now the Sagicor Junior International Tennis Tournament. Due to the support of organisations like Sagicor the tournament was recognized as one of the most successful tournaments in the region.”
For five days in Beausejour, tennis players from all over the world will compete in the Under 12 and Under 14 categories for a chance to win trophies, prizes, and points to cement their place in the tennis ranking system.
The tournament, which was not held in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, returns with Sagicor as the lead sponsor as was the case in 2018 and 2019. The tournament is a COTECC-sanctioned event open to the region and the rest of the world.
Leon, who shared that he is a great admirer of the sport’s international superstars Serena Williams and her sister Venus, Roger Federer, and Rafael Nadal. There is no shortage of GOAT “Greatest of All Time”, said: “The fact is that the development of an athlete in any sport, requires the investment and support of the community. In sport, the concept of ‘it takes a village’ is more relevant than ever, as is the idea of “never giving up”. We should not shirk our responsibilities to our youth athletes, no matter what sport it is, as commitments made now can result in so much success for all later on.”
Chief Executive Officer for Sagicor Life, Donald Austin, added that Sagicor was delighted to continue supporting youth tennis.
He said: “We are excited to see the players in August and we would also like to recognise the hard work and the dedication of the coaches, referees and other administrative staff who make this tournament such a success. The fact that this tournament has direct impact on the development of the athletes and the sport in St Lucia and the region should not be taken lightly.”