Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Dozens attend first Black History Month Afro-Caribbean tennis championship in Ottawa

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More than a dozen people competed in the first Black History Month Afro-Caribbean Indoor Tennis Championship in Ottawa over the weekend.

Players included Earnest Stoner, who is new to the sport.

“Tennis is a very individual sport, which teaches a lot about life and perseverance, not giving up, staying calm and being patient,” Stoner said.

But this weekend’s tournament represented more than just competition.

“There are four teams representing different areas in the world,” said Kingsley Munu, the organizer and founder of Ottawa Loves Tennis.

“It’s Black History Month, so most of the players are Black from different regions, but we also have team world which covers a number of different cultures.”

For Munu, it’s about bringing people together and breaking down barriers.

“The whole idea behind the tournament is to one, create awareness about tennis in the Afro-Caribbean community and two, to make sure tennis is accessible to all.”

One of the barriers, Munu says, is cost, especially during the winter.

“In the city of Ottawa, there are very few indoor courts and I don’t want my community to be left behind,” said Munu. “It’s important we get more accessible spaces, more affordable spaces and more indoor spaces.”

Relying on sponsors, the tournament is a joint collaboration between Ottawa Loves Tennis and UNILEARNAL, celebrating cultural heritage and the love of the game.

“I think sometimes we’re a little nervous to go into it, because it’s not dominated by Black people, I mean depending on where it is in the world,” said spectator, Sabine Dunac.

A tennis player herself, Dunac was one of many showing their support over the weekend.

“We don’t have a lot of events here in Ottawa that has to do with the Black community and tennis together, so that’s one of the reasons I wanted to come,” Dunac said.

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