By Ernesto Cooke
The Grassroot Tennis Center in collaboration with the Police Youth Club will launch a new imitative in Petit Bordel on Saturday morning.
“We see it as a perfect way of rekindling the relationship between the police and society using sport”,says Grant Connell Founder and Director.
Connell noted that a number of police officers were trained a few months ago, in the basics of the game. He said the long term idea would be to tap into the police youth clubs with over 800 hundred children island-wide.
GTC will provide equipment to 4 courts throughout the island which are located next to police stations in rural areas. Connell said the racquets and balls would be kept at the police stations to be used on Saturday mornings.
The police officers who were trained by GTC and attached to the closet stations will assist on Saturday morning with coaching.
Connell said officials from GTC will make visits from time to time looking out for any bright sparks, which can rise to the next level.
“we are the nexus between talent and Opportunity “ Connell said as he spoke with Donnie Collins of WEFM,” It’s no sense telling children in rural areas play tennis it’s a way out, may as well you tell them “catch a rocket to the moon and back”, it’s a very expensive sport, but expense is relative Connell stated.
Connell says the center has had some successes in the rural areas, he highlighted Antonio Cain who hails from Byrea and started at the age 7 , he went on to win the under-12 championship in Antigua.
Connell noted that Cain excelled over children who had better training facilities, but being on the court with a racquet and ball in hand, it does not matter your social background.
Connell further stated that the center will also seek to bring the football fields in the 4 chosen areas alive with the help of the food drink of champions Milo.
He said even though they have been uprooted from the tennis court in Kingstown, as new structures would be placed there, we move on,” Grassroot Tennis Club is wherever the talent is” we keep on moving forward said, Connell.
Saturday’s launch will take place on the hard court next to the Petit Bordel Secondary School from 10.30 am.
Former home of the Center in Kingstown