The T&T Tennis Association has hit a major mark in the sport's development.
The sport, being managed by Hayden Mitchell, was awarded the Bronze Level Certification of its Coaches Education System from the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
Speaking to Guardian Media Sports on Friday, the Public Relation's Officer at the association Carlista Mohammed said: "This certification signifies that TennisTT’s Coaches Education System is capable of independently certifying coaches to the required quality standard of the ITF. Based on the advance level status of our Coaches Education System, TennisTT was able to skip the lowest certification level (White Certification) and move directly to the Bronze Level."
T&T now officially joins a small pool of 15 countries worldwide to achieve a Bronze level certification and the only country in the English Speaking Caribbean to achieve any level of Coaches Education certification from the ITF.
The award is being considered a major accomplishment for T&T which feeds nicely into their goals of becoming the regional hub for tennis development. "With this certification, we are authorized to independently put on ITF sanctioned certification courses up to Level I. These courses will be conducted at our National Racquet Centre and has immense potential to attract local, regional and international coaches to our shores," Mohammed explained.
The award means that as of October 2020, there will be four countries achieving White Level Certification, 15 countries achieving Bronze Level Certification, seven achieving Silver Level Certification and 18 receiving Gold Level Certification. T&T and Cuba currently are the only countries in the Caribbean and Central Americas to achieve ITF’s certification for its Coaches Education System.
Only recently TennisTT was the recipient of an award for recognition of tennis excellence from the ITF in 2019 and though the year has almost ended, Mitchell and company are aiming to achieve their ultimate goal of having an ITF National Training Centre in TT before 2020 ends.
Mohammed and the tennis association thanks many who have helped in the Bronze Level certificate achievement, such as Minister of Sports Shamfa Cudjoe, Brian Lewis, president, Luca Santilli, ITF Executive Director of Development and International Relations and John Goede, ITF Development Officer, English Speaking Caribbean for their guidance throughout this entire process.