The National Sports Council (NSC) has strongly refuted claims that the recently held Road Tennis International Workshop was a “monumental embarrassment”.
In fact, Deputy Director of the NSC Neil Murrell has described the inaugural clinic as a tremendous success, revealing that participants spoke highly of the three-day session and even asked for it to be extended.
Murrell was responding to comments by Chief Executive Officer [CEO] of the Professional Road Tennis Association [PRTA] Dale Clarke, who referred to the seminar as a “waste of time,” while also accusing the NSC of being “stuck in the 1980’s”.
“That seminar was a waste of time and I am prepared to put my credibility on the line and back that statement,” Clarke stated.
But Murrell, one of the organizers of the regional workshop which catered to participants from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, St Lucia, St Vincent, Guyana and Antigua and Barbuda, rubbished those claims.
“The major untruth in Mr. Clarke’s reported testimony was that the workshop was a ‘monumental embarrassment’. Nothing could be further from the truth, and this was borne out in the [participant’s] written evaluations at the conclusion of the workshop,” he said in a written response.
“All of the participants either strongly agreed or agreed that the training met their expectations, that they would be able to apply the knowledge learnt, that the training enhanced their knowledge and skills of road tennis, the content was organized and easy to follow, the materials distributed were pertinent and useful and the quality of the instruction was good.”
Furthermore, he pointed out that the participants also described the workshop as “organized and professional”.
Among one of the concerns Clarke – a participant at the workshop – raised, was the fact that the NSC was encouraging the participants to use skinned balls.
But Murrell hit back, arguing that the coaches drawn from across the region were extremely new to the sport, and as such, had to be taught the basics.
“All aspects of the indigenous game was showcased to provide a historical and practical perspective to the overseas participants on the various aspects of the game. Additionally, most of the participants were very new to the game and a first hand view of major aspects was needed,” he explained.
“Included was the ‘skinning’ of a lawn tennis ball to produce a ‘road tennis’ ball. This practical was very well received by the participants who asked a variety of questions pertaining to this aspect.
He also insisted that the NSC had been instrumental in helping to develop the sport, saying that road tennis had made tremendous strides since televising the finals of the Inter-Parish Road Tennis Championships in 2010.
“The PRTA has been no more instrumental than the National Sports Council’s Road Tennis programme in the development of the sport. In fact, it can be successfully argued that from the televising and promotion of the game by the Council since 2010, that other off shoot tournaments have started to be organized, and road tennis has started to emerge as a serious bona fide game for the masses,” Murrell said.
Efforts to reach Minister of Sport Stephen Lashley for comment proved unsuccessful.The National Sports Council (NSC) has strongly refuted claims that the recently held Road Tennis International Workshop was a “monumental embarrassment”.