Friday, December 15th, the Ministry of Tourism, in conjunction with professional tennis player Bjorn Munroe, held a press conference at the YMCA to announce the first international Jr. Tennis Open to be held on Grand Bahama Island in 2018.
The event, which has already attracted over 60 American players to the shores of Grand Bahama Island, is set for June 8th-10th , 2018 and is open to local players who wish to gain experience competing against foreign talent.
Bjorn Munroe, Professional Player & Tournament Organizer, said, "I want to bridge the gap with the international and with the kids in Grand Bahama and The Bahamas itself".
Munroe also noted that in order to become an excellent player, children must be connected and committed to playing at least twenty tournaments a year. As this is not an opportunity that many Bahamian children have on a daily basis, Munroe encourages local players to take advantage of the Jr. Tennis Open in June.
With sponsors such as the Ministry of Tourism & Aviation (MOTA), the Ministry of Youth, Sports, & Culture, the YMCA, and the Pelican Bay Hotel, the Jr. Tennis Open is set to be an event of high caliber.
Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Works, and Member of Parliament for Central Grand Bahama Island, Iram Lewis, spoke on behalf of the Minister of Youth, Sports & Culture, Minister Michael Pintard and recognized the event as one that will greatly impact the kind of men and women the country produces in the wider society.
Jay Philippe, Assistant Manager, Niche Markets, MOTA, said, "The Ministry of Tourism is excited to partner with the Munroe family to bring an event such as the GB Jr. Tennis Open to Grand Bahama. We're in the business of bringing tourists to the island, and this represents an opportunity to not just showcase the island of Grand Bahama, but to bring visitors here."
"We realize that when you're talking about tourism and Jr. Athletic events, it's a big business simply because, not just the junior athletes travel, but you have the parents and the siblings that want to come to the island specifically for the event," said Philippe.
Shakeitha Henfield, Program Director YMCA, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Works, Iram Lewis, Narissa Lockhart Saunders, Sports & Recreation Officer, Ministry of Youth Sports & Culture, Bjorn Munroe, Tennis Director, Jr. Tennis Open, Patrick Munroe, Executive Director, Jr. Tennis Open, Gully Bowe, Tournament Director, Jay Philippe, Asst. Manager, Niche Markets, MOTA, Lona Munroe, Mother of Bjorn Munroe, Domonique Smith, Pelican Bay
Shakeitha Henfield, Program Director YMCA, said, "This will be the first international tournament at the YMCA and as an athlete, it's always good when we can have competitors come from outside of the country to compete. It gives the local tennis players the exposure, extra competition, and that extra motivation, so I'm very happy that this tournament will be here."
Patrick Munroe, Chairman, would like to thank the Ministry of Tourism & Aviation, the Ministry of Youth, Sports, & Culture, and the Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association (BLTA) for sanctioning the tournament and for having the confidence in the organization to host an international tennis tournament on Grand Bahama Island.
The committee is encouraging the best players throughout The Bahamas to register for the event at https://www.bmgrandbahamachampionships.com/.