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Searching For Junior Tennis Stars On Rise

The children who participated in the tournament with, from left, coach Cory Francis, Shayvon Clarke, Bernard Clarke, Perry Newton and coach Mike Butler.

The children who participated in the tournament with, from left, coach Cory Francis, Shayvon Clarke, Bernard Clarke, Perry Newton and coach Mike Butler.

The President of the Southwest Tennis Club (SWTC), Mike Butler, organised a tennis tournament for beginners at the Flamingo Gardens tennis courts.

It was the first interclub tournament for the SWTC youth after-school "play tennis programme".

The club has a roster of 50 registered kids ranging from ages four to 12.

During the tournament, kids particpated in various tennis drills and competitions.

Coach Butler was assisted by coach Cory Francis. Also on hand were Bernard Clarke and Shayvon Clarke.

Mr Butler was pleased with the tournament, saying: "The turnout was good, this tournament was about assessing the skills of the players through various drills. These kids participate in our tennis after-school programme three times a week.

"This tournament provided a good snapshot of where the kids are and what is needed for the future."

He said one of the goals of the SWTC is to identify kids competent enough to join the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA) series of sanctioned tennis.

In attendance was Perry Newton, BLTA's junior development head.

He said: "We applaud coach Mike of the SWTC and coach Cory for the work they are doing with the young children in the community.

"Tennis tournaments of this nature that provide competition in such a fun environment is instrumental to the growth of the sport. The focus of the red and orange balls is the approach that we encourage coaches and organisations to take in the developmental stages of the beginner tennis player."

The junior tennis tournament was sponsored by Bahamas Waste Management and Caribbean Bottling Company, Not Bread Alone, Beverly's Kitchen and Ed Armbrister Baseball Academy. Coach Butler was very appreciative of the donations.

The Southwest Tennis Club launched its community youth tennis outreach initiative about four years ago. The programme was born out of the need to expose kids to alternative sporting and recreational activities, with a view of deterring many from antisocial and criminal activities.

In moving the club towards international tennis standards, Mr Butler expressed the club's need for age-appropriate tennis equipment (mini nets and kids tennis racquets).

He said: "Our main objective is to teach life lessons and foster fellowship amongst one another and to prepare and inspire those to aspire to a higher level of competition.

"There is a present demand for a positive alternative such as the Sport of Tennis to help to keep the youths focused and on the right track."

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