Barbados wants to host world tournament

Bridgetown (Barbados), Jan 15 (IANS/CMC) The Barbados government has announced plans to host a World Road Tennis Tournament here.

Sports Minister Stephen Lashley made the commitment but gave no specific timeline as he addressed players and officials at the end of the National Inter-Parish Road Tennis Tournament, reports CMC.

Lashley said the government had successfully stimulated the resurgence of Road Tennis, and pointed at the number of courts and players that now exist island-wide.

"Actually, this year we have increased the level of participation from eight to 10 parishes, with many of the dormant players returning to the game," the sports minister explained.

"This is but one of the many initiatives of this government, geared toward unifying our communities in general and, particularly, our youth."

Road Tennis originated in Barbados in the 1930s, and officials say it is catching on internationally as an exciting spectator sport.

The sport, which can be played on any flat surface, is a fast paced scaled-down version of Lawn Tennis and has attracted the interest of stars such as Andy Murray and Venus Williams.

The minister said local exponents of the sport have carried out demonstrations in villages in Venezuela and interest has also been sparked elsewhere in Latin American and North America.

"We have also received offers from Panama, Canada, and Mexico to introduce the sport in these territories," said Lashley.

"Additionally, it is currently being played across the Caribbean and in some North American and Asian territories."

West Indian cricket legend Brian Lara is reported to be a fan of the sport played by about 150 people in Barbados.

--IANS/CMC

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