The Bahamas Fed Cup by BNP Paribas team has been welcomed with a special treat upon their return from their successful week at the Americas Group II event held in El Salvador. Player/captain Larikah Russell, Simone Pratt, Kerrie Cartwright and Danielle Thompson were received at the airport by Bahamas Lawn Tennis Association president Derron Donaldson and taken in a limousine for a luxury dinner.
The welcome party was organised to celebrate their historic performance that saw the Bahamians gain promotion to next year’s Americas Zone Group I and will be continued with a reception at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and the Bahamas Olympic Committee, whose representatives were also at the Lynden Pindling International Airport to welcome the team.
“We’re going to treat them,” said Donaldson. “They’re going to take two days off, then they will start preparing. So they need funding to start travelling and training. That’s the avenue that we have to go. We have to push hard.”
Bahamas finished at the top of Group B after winning all their ties. However, the much coveted promotion to Group I was not confirmed until the very last moment in a nail-biting tie against Dominican Republic. In the decisive match, Russell and Cartwright took their team’s fate onto their shoulders after the singles left a 1-1 tie on the scoreboard.
“I live for those moments,” said Russell about playing alongside Cartwright. “I’m just so proud of her for sticking in there. I was looking at her and she looked like what we’re going to do and I said, Kerrie, don’t worry about it, I’m going to take us all the way. But I’m proud of her and I’m proud of my team.”
Russell and Cartwright ended up defeating Dominicans Karla Portalatin and Joelle Schad 63 57 62 and clinched the decisive point that sent them to next year’s Group I.
“We had such a good time on and off the court. We enjoyed ourselves. We had such a good time,” said Captain Larikah Russell, very satisfied with the performance of the Bahamian team and their time in El Salvador. “I hope we can always travel like this. This was a good experience.”
Bahamas’s number one was also very happy with the team experience.
“Without them, we would not have been successful,” she said. “It was a good experience. I enjoyed it and hopefully we can be just as successful next year.”
Timothy Munnings, the director of sports in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture was also part of the receiving committee at the airport.
“Obviously, we have done something very magnificent,” said Munnings. “Although you were so far away, we were cheering and watching your performances and we’re so proud that we can be here to celebrate the team, which is made up of experience and youth.”