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Digicel team up with SVGTA

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With the assistance of telecommunications company Digicel, the St.Vincent and the Grenadines Tennis Association (SVGTA) has been able to take the game to a higher level.{{more}}

Chairman of the Junior Development Committee and one of two founders of the Bonan Tennis School Peter Nanton said that the national tennis programmes that are currently running and helping to tremendously uplift the game would not have been possible without the monetary contribution of Digicel.

Speaking from the St.Vincent and the Grenadines National Tennis Centre at Villa, Nanton, who is also the Co-ordinator of the Junior Tennis Initiative (JTI), said that this programme has an offshoot called the School Tennis Initiative or STI. The STI involves two coaches going out to the rural areas and holding coaching sessions where they will scout for talent. Nanton said that this is a complex programme that involves a lot of logistics and cooperation from parents, headteachers of the various primary schools and the Ministry of Education. He added that the contribution from Digicel, the official sponsor of Junior Tennis, has come in handy to offset many expenses which include rising gas prices. He is also hoping that he can appeal to Digicel to take up another program called the Performance Tennis Initiative or PTI. The PTI seeks to invite the top 20 kids coming out of the School Tennis Initiative to do follow up training at Villa on Saturdays. Nanton says that they are hoping to bear the expense of transporting these participants. He added that a further 36 children will be picked to undergo intensive training. Twelve of these kids will come from the Leeward end, 12 from the Windward side and twelve from the interior. The main coaches being used to achieve this are Andy Bentick and Roxanne Williams.

According to Nanton, they are hoping that they will have a number of children from the various primary schools ready to participate in the Inter Primary School Tennis Competition slated for June this year. This competition is limited to age 10 and under. Nanton says that the JTI programme is the most important one as it deals primarily with talent identification. “We want to get them young and train them and get them going; we are trying to be proactive, and also this programme is sanctioned and endorsed by the International Tennis Association (ITA)”. The ITA, revealed Nanton, helps with equipment for the JTI program.

Nanton stressed that the Digicel sponsorship is over EC$20,000 yearly and will go a long way in improving the game here as he and his colleagues are hoping to spend a total of three years with the first set of schools before adding more students to the campaign. He said that the sponsorship is not only helping with development but also aiding the coaches in finding the top juniors and putting them to play in regional events where they can achieve world rankings. Digicel also sponsored the International Junior Tournament, which saw 187 kids from all over the world converge on courts at Villa.

Marketing Manager at Digicel Juno DeRoche said her company is proud to be apart of this fruitful relationship with the Bonan Tennis School. She added: “It is a rewarding feeling to know that an opportunity of this nature is afforded to kids that are less fortunate; we, too, often remind our kids about academics and we forget that sports play a very important part in the development of our kids, so I would like to commend the coaches and the organizers for taking time to impart the skill of tennis to those who are less fortunate and for finding the hidden talents of this country”.

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