Downes, Gentle Dominate GBTI Independence Open Awards
BY DELVON Mc EWAN
Anthony Downes and Afruica Gentle topped the awards ceremony of Guyana’s premier tennis tournament, Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) Independence Golden Jubilee Open.
Last Thursday Guyana Tennis Association (GLTA) closed the chapter of its major tournament of the 2016 calendar with a delightful closing ceremony. It was a superb closure to the tournament that featured top performers, Men’s Champion, Downes, and Ladies Champion, Gentle, who clearly outclassed all players by each winning all three open categories: Open Singles, Open Doubles and Mixed Open Doubles.
Speaking at the closing ceremony, Pamela Binda, Marketing Manager of the GBTI said it was a successful tournament and praised the organising team for all the hard work. She reflected that the increase in the number of participants indicated that the sport is growing and that the bank is happy to commit to providing continuous support to GLTA.
President of GLTA, Jamal Goodluck took the opportunity to recognize his new executive which he considered on average to be the
youngest ever and most inclined to steer tennis in a new direction. He gave charge to all involved with tennis to pledge greater commitment to the sport using a famous quote from Martina Navratilova. His thrust to move tennis is underpinned by the philosophy of greater collaboration and the drive to go the extra mile. He noted the lack of facilities and the need for tennis to establish its headquarters which will be high on the agenda. Along with creating a pool of quality umpires and linespersons to officiate matches. He tied this to the reluctance of persons in taking up the positions as the discipline of respecting the chair is lacking. He also thanked GBTI for making their courts available during the training of the World Junior Tennis and observation was made that the extra training sessions on a quality court produced better results at tournaments and GLTA will be pursuing closer relationship with the bank to forge a stronger partnership.
GLTA Tournament Committee Chair Robert Bostwick praised the level of performance of the players, particularly the juniors who are consistently raising their level of play. Special mention was made about young Heimraj Resaul who showed tremendous resilience by pushing his coach Leyland Leacock to a breath taking three setters which had the crowd edging off their seats. However Shelly Daly who through suffering from an ailing arm tried to outwit the Afruica Gentle but was successfully fended off by her much confident student.
The level of competition made an impressionable mark on US Diplomat Razick who mentioned that he was stunned at the high level of competitiveness of the Guyanese players while recognizing that these players are not afforded decent facilities to develop their game pointing to the fact that the public courts are cracked and unlighted.
Amidst the ceremony there were light moments provided by CEO John Tracey during his speech of direction and reminisce. He was appreciative of the audience being visibly greater than previous years and drew everyone’s attention to popular veteran player Harry Panday whose partnership with Men’s Champion Anthony Downes earned him the Men’s Doubles Championship. He recounted Panday as a formidable opponent that he never defeated during the 80s but their partnership did bear fruit. He too expressed the new and youngest President needed strong support from his team to take tennis forward and congratulated him on executing his first tournament successfully.
Tracey made a special presentation to Coach Shelly Daly-Ramdyhan who was not present at the National Sports Award. Upon receiving the award for the Female Sports Official 2015 she praised the hard work of her previous coach, William Skeete, and she dedicated the award to him.
Full results for the eleven categories: Girls Open Singles Winner, Kalyca Fraser and Runner-up Shivani Persaud, Boys Open Singles Winner Heimraj Resaul and Runner-up Keenan Persaud, Men’s Open Single Winner Anthony Downes and Runner-up Daniel Lopes, Ladies Open Single Winner Afrucia Gentle and Runner-up Nicola Ramdyhan, Men’s Open Double Winner Anthony Downes/Harry Panday and Nicolas Fenty/Leyland Leacock, Ladies Open Double Winner Cristy Campbell/Afruica Gentle and Runner-up Aretta Dey/Nicola Ramdyhan, Mixed Open Doubles Winner Anthony Downes/Afruica Gentle and Runner-up Aretta Dey/Daniel Lopes, Men’s 35 and over Winner Leyland Leacock and Runner Godfrey Lowden, Men’s 45 and over Winner Godfrey Lowden and Runner-up Harry Panday, Novice Singles Winner Asif Subhan and Runner-up Devon Gonsalves, Novice Medley Doubles Winner Patricia Hope/Martin Campbell and Runner-up Asif Subhan/Devon Gonsavles.