PRESS RELEASE – The 31st Coca Cola/LIME ITF Junior Tennis Tournament kicked off in grand style Monday evening as government ministers, the Mayors of Castries and Gros Islet, Shirley Lewis and Alison King-Joseph respectively, along with representatives of the two main sponsors, Du Boulay’s Bottling Company and LIME, National Tennis Association president, Desmond McNamara and other dignitaries joined over 200 players from across the globe at the Saint Lucia National Tennis Centre for the opening ceremony, which turned out to be quite spectacular. Ambassador of the Republic of China on Taiwan, Hon James Chang was also present.
The sizable turnout was an indication that expectations had been running high following the announcement that Du Boulay’s Bottling Company, long the driving force behind the prestigious tournament, had joined forces with LIME, Saint Lucia and the Caribbean’s leading telecommunications company to add a new dimension to the competition.
After welcoming everyone to the event, Du Boulay’s Bottling Company Limited Managing Director, Dunstan Du Boulay said: “Du Boulay’s Bottling Company is continually looking to lift the level of the tournament, which has been growing from strength to strength, hence the reason this year we invited LIME to be a partner.”
Minister of Youth Development & Sports, Shawn Edward commended both the Saint Lucia Tennis Association and Du Boulay’s Bottling Company for their continuing efforts in promoting the development of tennis and young people. He also lauded LIME for its strong support for the game and for helping to spread tennis throughout the island. Stressing the importance of the tournament, he said the government remains committed to supporting the event and promoting sports tourism.
Speaking on behalf of LIME, Corporate Communications Executive, Terry Finisterre, said the company is proud to have been selected by Du Boulay’s Bottling Company/Coca Cola to partner with them for the tournament and is grateful for the amazing support it has received from tennis fans and the media.
“LIME has been continuously involved in many sports initiatives in communities around the island, including Tiger Tennis and the Marchand Combined sports program. We’re thrilled to be able to continue our support for yet another sphere of youth development and sports,” Finisterre added.
Following the speeches, Saint Lucian singing sensation and LIME Ambassador, Teddyson John kicked off the entertainment leg of the event with a series of scintillating performances featuring tunes from his latest release Love.Passion.Music.
Over 200 young tennis players from 26 countries, including from the Caribbean, South America, USA, Canada and Mexico are firing up the court in their bid for glory and looking to improve their rankings in the 8-day international Coca Cola/LIME ITF Junior Tennis Tournament.
Managing Director for the National Tennis Centre, Ricardo Bowe said this year has recorded the biggest participation ever by Saint Lucian youths in the competition and this coincides with an increase in the development of tennis programmes being organised in Marchand, Vieux Fort, Choiseul, Soufriere and the Tiger Tennis program at the Kenneth ‘Wriggler’ King Multipurpose Centre at George V Park, popularly known as the Gardens.
This year’s tournament also saw the introduction of local umpires trained to International Tennis Federation (ITF) standards, and trained ball retrievers for the first time. These developments are aimed lifting the level and standards of the Coca Cola/LIME ITF Junior Tennis Tournament. The playoffs continue until Sunday, August 10 at the National Tennis Centre. Admission is free.