Black Immigrant Daily News
Former Sports Minister Darryl Smith. Photo by Roger Jacob
FORMER sport and community development minister Darryl Smith has abandoned his threat of legal action against the Tennis Association of TT over the non-selection of his children in the national junior tennis programme.
Notice of Smith’s abandoning his challenge came in a statement from the association.
Smith, the father of junior tennis players Yeshowah Campbell-Smith, 15, and Abba Campbell-Smith, 11, issued a pre-action protocol letter to the association challenging his children’s non-selection to train with the national teams.
The statement said they were told of Smith’s decision by his attorney.
The association said its executive continued to strive to be fair, transparent and equitable in dispensing its duties.
Last week, Smith’s lawyer Amy Rajkumar sent a legal letter which also threatened to seek an injunction against the association unless it reversed its decision to exclude his children from the national junior development and performance programme for under 14s and under 16s.
The event was postponed to allow Smith to pursue the proposed legal action.
Rajkumar claimed the children’s exclusion based on their relatively low rankings was due to TATT’s failure to host local competitive tournaments over the past two years.
“The TATT cannot reasonably expect athletes to prepare for any regional/international (meet) without proper notice of when the event is likely to take place or even estimated to take place,” Rajkumar said.
Despite Smith’s younger children being excluded, his older daughter Em-Miryam Campbell-Smith was selected to participate in the programme.
Rajkumar had said the association would benefit as the best teams would be selected for World Junior Tennis Championships (Under 14 Team) and the Junior Davis Cup (Under 16 Team).
“Excluding two world-ranking athletes from the selection playoff will only be to the detriment of the TATT team being selected to represent TT,” she said.
In response to the threat of legal action, the association’s attorney Clay Hackett said neither child was eligible for participation in the training programme having regard to the operation and conjoint effect of the junior selection policy, the national junior ranking system policy and the related rules and guidelines.
He also said Yeshowa, having turned 15, could no longer be ranked in the under-14 category where he ranked fifth. He is now at the 19th spot in the under-16 category and only participated in one under-16 tournament, gaining ten points,
Hackett also said Abba needed to be 11 to be eligible for under-14 regional and international tournaments and she only attained the age on December 8, last year.
He said she only participated in under-12 events which would not have assisted her in the under-14 rankings.
Hackett also denied that his client acted unreasonably in not hosting the tournaments during the pandemic due to public health regulations that were in place at the time.