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ITF Junior Tennis Tournament opens tomorrow

ITF Junior Tennis Tournament opens tomorrow

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The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tennis Association(SVGTA) will from tomorrow, August 13, host the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Junior Tennis Tournament at the National Tennis Centre at Villa, from 9am.{{more}}

And, the one week tournament is expected to have greater regional and international participation than last year’s, according to President of the SVGTA, Anthony Mc Kenzie.

“We are expecting to have in total about 120 to 130 players in for the tournament from about 16 to 18 countries,” Mc Kenzie told SEARCHLIGHT last Wednesday afternoon.

“Based on the acceptance, most of the players are ranked in the first 500 on the Junior world circuit, so the tournament will be of a high quality,” Mc Kenzie added.

He stated that players are coming from as far as China, Russia and Germany.

The local Tennis head was, however, disappointed in the reduction in participation of Vincentian players in the tournament, which St. Vincent and the Grenadines is hosting for the fifth consecutive year.

Mc Kenzie said that the tournament is more than just Tennis, as it brings a lot of economic benefits to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

However, the Mc Kenzie led executive for the past three years has had difficulty attracting a title sponsor for the event, despite the international appeal of the annual ITF Tournament.

Telecommunication company Digicel was title sponsor in 2007 and 2008. However, since then, the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tennis Association has since been without such a financial surety.

And, this year was no exception, but the host association, SVGTA, last Wednesday was the recipient of a much needed cash injection of EC$10,000 from First Citizens Services.

Mc Kenzie told SEARCHLIGHT that his organisation was grateful to First Citizens Investment Services for its timely intervention.

“It came just in time, as our budget is between forty and $50,000,” Mc Kenzie revealed.

He thanked the Grassroot Tennis Club’s head honcho, Grant Connell, who is also a former President of the SVGTA, for negotiating with First Citizens Investment Services on behalf of the local Tennis body.

Mc Kenzie said apart from First Citizens, the National Lotteries Authority, Digicel, National Properties Karib Cable and others have chipped in to make the tournament a reality.

Manager of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Branch of First Citizens Investment Services Norlann Gabriel told SEARCHLIGHT that her organisation was happy to come to the aid of the SVGTA.

Gabriel said that First Citizens has been a sign holder with the Grassroot Tennis Club facility for the past year, so when Connell approached on the sponsorship, there was not much of a problem.

Gabriel said that one of First Citizens’ philosophies is to support sports and the youths.

“We are glad to be associated with such a tournament as it gives great exposure to our Junior Tennis players and the island as whole,” Gabriel said.

She stated that Vincentians can expect more First Citizens’ input in the future as they exercise more of their social responsibility.