Tennis associations make difficult decision to call seasons short

Empty Tennis Courts Dsc 0491 TBW Newsgroup
CANCELLED ON COURT: Olympic Park tennis courts will be left empty until next season, with the decision made to cancel the upcoming senior and junior finals due to the COVID-19 virus. Picture: THOMAS MILES

THE iconic Olympic Park tennis complex will be denied finals action this year, with the call made to abandon the 2019-20 Mount Gambier and District junior and senior tennis competitions due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

A committee meeting on Tuesday night between the Mount Gambier and District Tennis Association (MGDTA) and Lakes Junior Tennis (LJT) resulted in the decision to terminate both seasons before finals, using the by-laws in place to account for extreme weather conditions.

As a result the ladder leaders at the end of the minor rounds will be presented with the 2019-20 premierships.

“We have by-laws in place that handle weather events and so on, so we decided to apply those,” MGDTA president Matt Charlton said.

“Although they do not directly apply to this situation – because who could plan for something like this – we decided to enact those by-laws and so the premierships will be awarded to the teams that finished on top of the ladder at the end of the season.”

While it is far from the ideal outcome, especially so close to the completion of the season, it was agreed to be the safest option for players and spectators.

The decision was not made lightly, but the matter was agreed on without debate.

“The committee was 100pc behind it – both the juniors and the seniors – there was no real argument against it,” Charlton said.

“Obviously it is incredibly disappointing to have come this far and not be able to get the result we’d aimed for, but at the end of the day most of our teams that were on top of the ladder were pretty dominant throughout the season.

“It is not like someone has come from the bottom and ended up with a premiership, so it seems pretty fitting.”

While there will be no rush of premiership glory on grand final day, individual season awards will still be announced and presented at an unknown date.

“We have not decided yet how we are going to do the presentations,” Charlton said.

“It will probably just be a one-on-one type situation where representatives from clubs will come in and pick up their shields and pennants and then distribute them down the track.”

Charlton said the main focus of the associations is the health of those involved, with the MGDTA and LJT just two of many sporting organisations which have been forced to make big calls during these unprecedented times.

“We just have to deal with it the best we can and keep everyone’s health and safety at the forefront and go from there,” he said.

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