The Cayman Islands tennis team that went to the Island Games came away with much credit with one gold medal and two bronzes.
The tournament was held in Rhodes, Greece and under difficult circumstances Eduardo Torres overcame powerful opposition to win gold. He then doubled up with 15-year-old sensation Pranav Jha to win bronze in the men’s doubles and the men’s team also won bronze. Jha is joining the superb Canada junior programme for a year in Montreal in September to further his career.
‘The weather at the games was particular hot which suited our players,’ said team coordinator Eva Aiken. ‘The organisation of the games and facilities were definitely not up to the usual standards which made competing even more difficult than usual. We were able to master these obstacles and came away with good results.’ The poor organisation she mentioned included poor transport facilities and a general air of chaos.
Team coach Robert Hale said: ‘The team did well in Rhodes under difficult circumstances. It was a very good result. We believed Eduardo would do a good job and he did. Pranav did well too. Each time we go to a major tournament we want to expose new people. We took Pranav for the first time to the previous Island Games two years ago when he was only 13. We exposed him to what it took and he responded accordingly.
‘I think Pranav has the ability to do very well, turn pro and get a world ranking but there are certain things of his game he needs to work on.
‘First, he needs to put on weight, at least 10lbs. He has also been going through a growing spurt and is a little uncoordinated. He needs to improve his volley too. The rest is mental. He needs a more rounded game. I think he knows and understands that.
‘Going to Canada will be good for him, it’s an excellent opportunity. He will have good tutelage and excellent competition on a weekly basis. He will also be travelling and playing a lot, exposing him to what it takes to be a top pro.’
Hale is looking forward to the next major competition on the island when Cayman seniors play Jamaica’s Over-40s in October.
Aiken added: ‘The tennis team would like to thank the following sponsors for making this possible: Absolutely Fabulous, Beacon Furniture, Caribbean Commodities Ltd, Caribbean Marine Services, Cayman Olympic Association, Cayman Sports, Colin Shaw & Co., George Town Hospital – Maternity Staff, Health Care Pharmacy, Hydes & Sons, ICWI Ltd, Kirk Freeport Plaza Ltd., Ministry of Sports, Mrs. Patricia Calder, Quick Care Ltd, Royal Bank of Canada, Sagicor Ltd, Salon Nouvelle, The Image Group, Vampt Motors & Yoshi Sushi.’