Downes reigns in Tennis, Campbell is top female player

first_img− 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.last_img read more

Many G’s later, reporter’s got head in clouds

first_imgAt one point, we were pulling between 31/2 and 4 Gs, meaning the force I felt was 31/2 to four times the normal pull of gravity. As we “pulled Gs,” the plane pumped air into the bladders of my G-suit, squeezing my legs and lower stomach to restrict the blood flow. G-suits are designed to help air crews avoid losing consciousness by keeping blood from pooling in the lower part of the body. It would be the first of many times on the day that I would feel that squeeze. Before we rolled out at the top of the maneuver, I had a great view – upside down – of Edwards. “Now that’s an E ticket,” I told Bowman, instantly pegging myself as a baby boomer. After that, we gradually descended to about 1,000 feet as we flew north, first over the eastern Kern County desert and then into the Sierra Nevadas. After passing over Lake Isabella, we bobbed and weaved through Sierra canyons, at times hitting more than 500mph anywhere from 500 to 1,000 feet above the ground. Flying down between the mountains is called “terrain masking” – using the terrain to hide from enemy radar. “This is how we would do it tactically – stay down in the valley,” Bowman said. “The only way they would see you is if they were straight above you.” We exited the Sierra Nevadas in spectacular fashion – a dramatic, turning drop into Owens Valley about 8,000 feet below. My words cannot do justice to the view of going from a mountain range into a low valley; all I can say is it ranks as one of the major highlights of the flight. “This is as cool as it gets,” Bowman said of the terrain drop. “I never saw anything like this until I got to Edwards.” One thing that will stick with me from the flight is the variety of terrain the R-2508 airspace covers and how spacious it is – 140 miles at its longest point, 110 miles wide and used by 15 military bases. I better appreciate why military officials want to protect it from tall structures, flight restrictions and other threats and call it a national treasure. Bowman asked me periodically how I was doing, and I said I was all giggles and grins. We continued into Death Valley National Park. There, Bowman let me have a turn at flying the jet and told me to climb from our altitude of 2,000 feet to somewhere between 10,000 and 18,000 feet. The jet was incredibly responsive to my control inputs, as clumsy as they were. “Yeah, it’s like a video game,” Bowman told me. Over the Saline Valley, I made a banking right turn to head us south back toward Edwards. I asked Bowman if I could do a roll, and without hesitation he said yes. As I started the roll, Bowman told me: “Keep it coming, keep it coming. Don’t bury the nose.” I finished the roll, but it was ragged and I let the airplane’s nose drop – something you shouldn’t do unless you want to lose a lot of altitude and risk becoming a smoking hole in the ground. A couple of minutes later, I asked to do another roll. After a second of hesitation, Bowman agreed. This time, I started the maneuver so poorly that Bowman quickly got back on the control stick to finish the roll. Bowman showed me how to properly do a roll and then gave me another shot. This time, my roll was quicker and smoother, but I still let the plane’s nose drop. Back over Edwards, Bowman asked if I wanted to go supersonic. We headed toward the Black Mountain flight corridor over the desert north of Edwards, where we could pop off a sonic boom without rattling populated areas. I was allowed to fly the jet to the corridor and to climb from 9,000 feet to above 20,000, occasionally with assistance from Bowman. We lined up for the supersonic run, and I was given the opportunity to operate the throttle. I could feel a bit of kick as the jet’s afterburner kicked in and we accelerated, peaking out at Mach1.25, about 875mph. Like Chuck Yeager 59 years before, I broke the sound barrier on an October day over Edwards Air Force Base. We headed over to Harpers Dry Lake in northern San Bernardino County for aerobatics. I started by flying a loop. Next, Bowman showed me how to do a barrel roll. His barrel roll was smooth as silk; I follow with two of my own – less than smooth as silk. Bowman then showed me the proper way to do a loop. It started with us pulling about 4 Gs as we went up; then he let up slightly on the stick to let natural gravity, or as he called it “God’s Gs,” help make a smooth turn over the top; and then it ended with him pulling back on the stick to pull us level. I had felt great throughout the flight up until that point. I wasn’t sick, but I was definitely on the borderline. We headed back to base, airsick bag empty, I’m proud to say.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE – Before climbing into the back seat of a 1,300mph F-16 fighter jet, I was given a piece of advice – keep the airsick bag tucked in at the top of my G-suit in case I needed it in a hurry. As a roller coaster junkie, I scoffed at the idea of filling up an airsick bag. But I did keep the bag tucked at the top of my G-suit – just in case. The plan was for an Edwards pilot to fly me over the R-2508 airspace, a massive military testing and training flight area covering much of eastern and central California, including the Sierra Nevada mountain range and Death Valley National Park. “I’ve never seen a place with so much airspace,” my pilot, Maj. Tom Bowman, said on a recent arrival to Edwards. “For me, it’s like being a kid in a candy store.” Bowman, a full-time reservist who has a dozen years’ experience flying F-16 fighters in combat units, is in a newly created position as an instructor pilot for Edwards’ 455th Flight Test Squadron. Bowman flies safety and photo chase missions and provides instruction for test pilots about to go into F-16 flight test work but who haven’t flown that aircraft on a regular basis. John Haire of the Air Force Flight Test Center’s public affairs office helped get me the rare chance to fly in a high-performance jet. Having gone through my medical check and gotten my gear the previous day, the morning of my flight last week was spent learning how to exit the airplane in an emergency and taking in a quick mission briefing. We headed out to the airplane and, with the help of a ground crew, got settled in. After one last ground check, we headed out to the runway and began our takeoff roll. My first thrill was the takeoff: We shot up 14,500 feet in seconds and did an Immelmann turn, a maneuver named after a World War I fighter ace that is a 180-degree turn involving a half loop with a roll. last_img read more