Thu | Jan 17, 2019

Tennis Jamaica president steps down

Published:Wednesday | December 20, 2017 | 12:00 AMAkino Ming
John Bailey (left) shows students Sheniqua Thomas (centre) and Fantasia Wynter the proper way to hold a tennis racket during a press conference at Mannings Hill Primary in 2014. Bailey has stepped down as Tennis Jamaica president.

John Bailey, the president of Tennis Jamaica, has resigned.

Bailey, who became president of the association in 2012 following the resignation of Aubyn Hill, said that he has become too busy with running his businesses to be able to carry out the mandate of the association.

"It is a fairly demanding job and the truth of the matter is that I have become really busy," Bailey, managing director of Virginia Dare Jamaica, manufacturers of Hi-Lyte sports drink, told The Gleaner.

When he assumed the position of president in 2012, Bailey said his main focus was to get more boys and girls involved in tennis by increasing its accessibility. He said then that the lack of available playing areas was impeding the sport's growth.

With the newly refurbished courts at Eric Bell Tennis Centre at Piccadilly Avenue in Cross Roads, St Andrew and plans in the pipeline to build courts in Drax Hall, St Ann by the St Ann Municipal Corporation, Bailey believes the association is well on its way to achieving that objective.

"A lot of good things have happened. We have a strong junior development programme in place. We have juniors who are excelling regionally and internationally for many years," Bailey pointed out.

"On the infrastructure side, we have a first class tennis centre freshly refurbished with four great courts and we are looking to expand. We have opportunity in Drax Hall to open up courts there with the St Ann Municipal Corporation."

He also stated in 2012 that he would have wanted to garner more sponsorship for the association.

"Sponsorship is a fluid thing. We have a lot of support with the various tournaments. Could we have got more? Of course, but I do appreciate the sponsorship from the Sports Development Foundation," Bailey said. "I think corporate sponsorship for sports is a very challenging thing even for the more popular sports like football and track and field."

Tennis Jamaica's secretary Leroy Brown, in lauding Bailey, said he was a consensus builder and a very generous leader.

"He quietly assisted players behind the scene but never made any big deal of it. It was quiet philanthropy," Brown said.

He added: "And the heartening thing for us is that he has agreed, despite his time constraints, to continue to work for Tennis Jamaica. He is still a member of the association and he will continue to play an active role as a member of the association so his services are not going to be lost to us."