Tennis Assc. sets 5 Yr plan to make T&T Tennis hub of the C’bbean with bmobile
President of the Tennis Association of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT), Hayden Mitchell, is predicting that in the next five years, Trinidad and Tobago will be known as the tennis hub of the Caribbean.
Mitchell is confident that his vision, though ambitious, will become reality due to TATT’s strategic partnership with telecommunications powerhouse, bmobile.
“I have no reservations about saying that because bmobile has been very instrumental in developing our junior talent. The biggest thing for us or any association is getting the right support at the grassroots because that’s the only way the sport will grow,” Mitchell said, noting also that bmobile had helped to create a more even playing field for local athletes.
“International players have access to numerous tournaments and they run up the world rankings so quickly because of that. In May, with the help of bmobile, we hosted the first ever female professional tournament in the region. Yolande Leacock, who is home-grown, reached the quarter-finals and her world ranking jumped by 200 spots from that competition alone. Last year, we were able to host seven international ITF Junior tennis events, one of which was the COTECC Regional Under 12 Development Championship which was held at the National Racquet Centre in Tacarigua. Our boys team won the Caribbean leg and went on to represent the Caribbean region at the finals in Mexico. It’s a hard road and a lot of sacrifice but we are very thankful to bmobile for giving us support in a major way.”
Mitchell’s vision for tennis also includes having a Trinidad and Tobago player among the top 150 in the world by 2025. To help make this happen, TATT is in the process of drafting a five year strategic plan alongside the government and the International Tennis Federation (ITF) – the world governing body of tennis.
TATT’s objectives include: increasing the number of tournaments at all age levels held in Trinidad and Tobago, providing coaches with international training and development to become internationally certified, as well as working closely with the ITF to help tackle the issues plaguing the industry.
TATT is also seeking to have Trinidad and Tobago listed as a competition venue for the New ITF Transition Tour which starts in 2019. This will give local juniors who are seeking to turn professional the opportunity to compete with top juniors from around the world. This tour, he says, will not only benefit the players, but also the coaches and local officials and will serve to bring sports tourists to our shores.
Mitchell and Jermille Danclar, TATT Secretary, were elected to the COTECC Board of Directors at the COTECC AGM in Cancun Mexico on June 17th with Mitchell being selected as COTECC 2nd VP.
“I believe that we are going in the right direction. People spend big money for tennis tournaments to go different countries to play and compete. Tennis can contribute to our economy in a positive way, we just need to get it right,” he said.