TRINIDAD and Tobago’s boys ended up sixth of the 14 participating teams in the North/Central America & Caribbean Pre-qualifying Tournament for the World Junior Tennis Competition in Dominican Republic.
The No. 2 seeds were beaten 3-0 by Guatemala yesterday in the playoff for fifth place, while El Salvador marched past Dominican Republic 3-0 in the final of the six-day under-14 tournament.
The fifth seeds not only came away with the title, they also qualified to battle alongside Canada, Mexico and United States in the qualifying event in the next few months.
The top two teams from this stage will qualify for the main draw in the second half of the season.
The T&T players, who had been swept by Honduras in the quarterfinals Wednesday, could not prevent it from happening for a second time when Zachery Byng and Nathen Martin were dismissed 6-3, 6-0 by David Morales and Carlos Ramirez in the doubles match.
Morales had halted Byng 6-3, 6-2 in the opening match and then Ramirez had made an impressive comeback from a set down to take down Tobagonian Jaylon Chapman 2-6, 6-1, 6-0 in the battle of No.1 players.
Top seeds Honduras rolled over Puerto Rico 3-0 for the bronze medal, while Suriname were 2-1 winners over Jamaica in the clash for seventh place.
Third seeds Costa Rica, Bermuda, Panama, Barbados, Curacao and Antigua & Barbuda finished ninth through 14th, respectively.
The T&T team, coached by Larry Yearwood, a national champion of the 1970s who is one of the greatest ever local players, beat Bermuda 2-1 and lost to Dominican Republic in the round-robin group stage.
And after going down to Guatemala in the quarters, they beat Jamaica on Thursday to end up in the fifth-place playoff.
The female equivalent competition will serve off tomorrow and this country will be represented by Cameron Wong, Jaeda-Lee Daniel-Joseph and Jordane Dookie.
T&T’s boys got ready for this week by training at the Sanchez-Casal Tennis Academy in Florida, USA, last week, and the girls, minus top player Wong, concluded their preparation at world-famous training site on Thursday.