President St.Kitts-Nevis Tennis Association and Camp Director of the 2020 Summer Tennis Camp interacts with athletes (including Vlad Bolfa seen at right end) at the Sanitization Station on Wednesday 12th August 2020. (Spokesman Snap)

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts (Friday 14th August 2020) – President St.Kitts-Nevis Tennis Association and Camp Director of the 2020 summer Tennis Camp Watkins Chiverton says officials and athletes have been following hygiene COVID-19 guidelines to ensure safe interactions during the yearly outdoorsy sports event- Monday 10th to Friday 14th August (9am to 12:30pm)- at Warner Park.

“That’s very important. In fact that station over there at the entrance is the Sanitization Station so as soon as they come in, they have to sanitize and we use the temperature gun so that they get their temperature checked. We have the hand soaps and then we have a running register where the parents actually sign in the children and sign out so at least in terms of contact tracing and knowledge of who were here and also what time they left and so we have that in place and in addition to that between the interchanges, we’re encouraging them to wash their hands and before their get the meals and so on and as you can see we have them all spread out, “ he said during a courtside interview as he took a break from a session with athletes.

Asked about the cooperation of the athletes in following the good hygiene practices, he commented: “They are getting it. They show up with their face masks and they’re doing their best to get their hands clean and keeping their distance, and so we’re ensuring that the camp is run without any violation of the existing regulations.”

He informed that the camp has seen over forty (40) players from a wide cross section of St.Kitts with an almost balanced gender ratio. As gathered, the tennis players rage from age 7 to 17 including athletes from the Junior National League who always consistently participate in the camp.

As it relates to the game of tennis, Chiverton highlighted: “We do a holistic programme so firstly we start off with fitness because in tennis it’s important that you have the right fitness and at the same time it is one of the development goals because we want to development the whole individual…ultilise your energy so that is first and then we move on to skills development. Infact, we have three main categories where we have the early beginners who are playing with red balls and then we have the intermediates who are playing with the orange balls and then we have the more advanced players who are ulitzing the green balls so their skill levels are developing based on these categories based on their own knowledge of the game and their ability and the beautiful thing about it is that we welcome new players. Even those who have not touched a racket before with the first five minutes they’re having proper technique…as well as being taught the back hand fundamental strokes in the game.”

Commenting on the status of tennis in St.Kitts-Nevis, he had this to say: “Our player development profile is such that we have players here who have participated in international events and those who are being shaped to partake in the next set of events that are coming up and even we’re aiming to get at least two players on to the Olympics. So we’re really moving fast and it’s pretty beautiful because we’ve pretty much only started back in 2017 but within 2018- 2019 to today, we have seen accelerated growth and with the parental support and ath;letes themselves are very much interested in honing their skills and getting better every day with every stroke; really advancing through their development pathway.”

Chiverton added: “So just now some of these players that you’re seeing now, we can predict that within the next four, five years, they are going to be competing not just in the regional here. When we first launched our junior programme in March, by May some of our athletes were able to participate in Antigua and reach as far as the semifinals and quarter finals so the kids are really grasping the game; they’re hungry to play Infact you can’t get them off the court after we’re finished. We have to beg them or chase them off the court so the development agenda that we’re seeing is really accelerating to a pace where we can say that the parents are really proud and we ourselves are achieving our goals.”

Some of the athletes, with the approval and supervision of Chiverton- talked about their experience at the camp.

Vlad Bolfa- “My experience at the camp has been good so far and probably will be good for the following two days. We’ve played matches and I can’t wait for Friday because Friday is the championship. I’ve been playing tennis for about 4 to 5 years.”

Sanjana ‘Sana’ Booraj- “I had fun on the first day of camp. It was really, really fun. On the second day of camp, I had to do the warm ups because I went early and when I went home I just slept because I was really tired but today I’m tired but I had a lot of fun . I’ve been playing tennis since I was in grade 3 and now I’m going in grade 6 in September. When I was in grade 4, I had to go for a competition for the interschool and I came in third place overall in my category.”

Renecia Michael- I enjoyed tennis when I first started it and I did a tennis competition and came first in it and now tennis is easy and fun. I started playing tennis at age 5 and now I’m 10.”