− Jones hint at brighter 2017Anthony Downes reign as the top male tennis player in the country continued throughout 2016 as he remained unbeaten and was rewarded on Friday evening at the Guyana Lawn Tennis Association (GLTA) annual awards ceremony hosted by the Le Ressouvenir Tennis Club on the East Coast of Demerara.Downes recorded 5200 ranking points to finish as the number one male player andDirector of Sport Christopher Jones left, President of GLTA Jamal Goodluck (right) with awardees of the third GLTA annual award ceremony, sponsors and GLTA executivestop player for 2016.Cristy Campbell won the female player of the year while Hemraj Resaul and Afruica Gentle won the respective male and female junior awards.The third edition of the event provided its small audience with distinction reflective of the grand sport of tennis despite a late start. The association sought to recognise players and individuals who continuously give of themselves with the expectation of elevating tennis in Guyana. Master of Ceremonies, Shaquille Bourne acknowledged the presence of distinguished guests Mitsy Campbell, PRO of Ministry of Public Health, Director of Sport, Christopher Jones, Professor Dawn Duke former tennis player of Roraima Tennis Club and tennis scholar Gavin Lewis.The ceremony was a moment of reflection on the hard work done during 2016 to build the organisation as an institution that provides development opportunities for the children and nation, as pointed out by the President of the association, Jamal Goodluck. Lots of work was done to build on the policies to guide the association beyond the executive. Former President Grace McCalman and now Chair of Mini Tennis recounted the work of the association over recent years to establish documented procedures and systems to ensure a smooth flow of operations and to forge better relationships between executives, coaches and parents. To date there is now a tournament manual, an online ranking scheme, a player ranking table and guidelines for travelling player, coach, parent and chaperon. Further work is almost complete to establish contracts for better output for all official jobs. She alluded to the fact that this work is being done to strengthen the association internally while the association agonises waiting for the sports authorities to help to develop proper tennis courts and to increase the number of coaches and equipment for the expansion and development of tennis nationwide.Director of Sports, Christopher Jones, raised the hope and excitement of the Tennis community with his announcement of a signed MoU between the two entities and lights at the National Racquet Centre before IGG in October. Cheers echoed the space from the enthusiastic persons at the prospect of finally seeing some light in the journey of building the dream of a home for tennis. This point was made earlier by President, Jamal Goodluck, that this year the association will do everything to have facilities of acceptable standard before IGG.Goodluck also thanked the sponsors who have always stuck with tennis during the years. Special mention was made of Trophy Stall, represented by Ms. Devi Sunich, GBTI, Bakewell, parents, players and the media. President Goodluck also pointed out Travis Hopkinson of NCN, Neketa Forde and Delvon McEwan who have now become part of the tennis family through their extensive support. Coming in for high praises was overseas-based Dr. Arthur Ingram Hazlewood, who once again sponsored the awards and has been financially supporting the GLTA for the past six years. Additionally Professor Duke made her annual donation to the GLTA for 2016.AwardeesSenior Male Year End winner Anthony Downes 5200 points, Senior Female Year End winner Cristy Campbell 3200 points, Junior Male Year End winner Heimraj Resaul 7550 points, Junior Female Year End winner Afruica Gentle 6775 points and Most Improved Junior was Mark McDonaldThe 6th edition Trophy Stall Doubles winners also shared in the spotlight of last evening’s event.Men’s Open Doubles winners Jason Andrews and Anthony Downes, Runners-Up Heimraj Resaul and Jordan Beaton; Ladies Open Doubles winners Cristy Campbell and Afruica Gentle Runners-Up Nicola Ramdyhan and Shelly Daly-Ramdyhan; Mixed Open Doubles winners Anthony Downes and Afruica Gentle Runners-Up Heimraj Resaul and Kalyca Fraser; Men’s Over 35 Doubles winners Leyland Leacock and Ronald Murray Runners-Up Alexander Almeida and Sandeep Chand.In her remarks Afruica Gentle passionately described her desire for the last three years to achieve the top spot in junior tennis. She thanked her parents for their support and Cristy Campbell for personal training as she gave an early hint that she will not relinquish the title for 2017.Heimraj Resaul thanked his parents and coaches and friends for their support. He also joked about leaving the U14 category this year but knowing that there will always be good competition among his close rivals Joshua Kalekyezi, Jordan Beaton and Mark McDonald.Senior Female Awardee Cristy Campbell thanked her mother Misty, coaches Dexter and Rebecca for their support and her friend Nigel Niles for introducing her to tennis. She also wished all players an injury free year 2017 and charged them to execute good sportsmanship throughout the year.Awards were presented to Samuel Barakat and Harry Panday, both tennis veterans with private lighted tennis courts, in recognition of their continuous support for tennis activities and to Grace McCalman for her continuous selflessness, hard work and dedication to the GLTA.