I had the great opportunity of representing my country as the GB Coach for the Blind & Visually Impaired Tennis Team, who competed in the Dlr Takei 2018 World Championships in Dublin (25 – 29 April).
We were welcomed by volunteers on Wednesday in the airport, dressed in a bright yellow t-shirts, and from that initial meeting, the success of the event was due to the friendliness, helpfulness and enthusiasm of all the volunteers from Shankhill Tennis Club and Tennis Ireland.
14 countries were represented and the event was overseen by chief umpire, Martin Etheridge (normally found on the Wimbledon court as chair or line umpire). The players underwent formal classification by IPC classifier on Thursday and then onto the club for a practice session.
Players are classified into B1 category (played on a Mini Red Court, Sound Ball is allowed up to 3 bounces), B2 category (played on a Mini Orange Court, Sound Ball is allowed up to 3 bounces), B3 category (played on a Mini Orange Court, Sound Ball is allowed up to 2 bounces), Open Category (played on a Mini Orange Court, Sound Ball is allowed 1 bounce).
The tournament started with an opening ceremony, a players parade and speeches from Disability Minister for Ireland, Finian McGrath and Irish Paralympian 100m, Jason Smyth.
Once play started, the atmosphere intensified and the players demonstrated why this fast growing sport is attracting so many players and how the standard of play has increased since last year’s tournament. Players from across the world fought hard on the court, showing tactical knowledge, gamesmanship and demonstrated the spirit of the tournament.
Team GB had an amazing tournament, having finalists in 6 finals.
The final results:
B1 Women – Rachel Morgan GOLD
B1 Men – Nikhill Nair Group stages
B2 Women – Amanda Large GOLD
B2 Men – Jim Currie GOLD
B3 Women – Jan Reynolds GOLD
B3 Men – Paul Ryb GOLD
Open Group – Rosie Pybus SILVER
Open Group – Chris Baily GOLD
An amazing time was had by everyone – Thank you Ireland and to every volunteer who assisted in the hotel, transport, on court, off court, catering, teas and those who made the gorgeous cakes!
A big thank you to the Tennis Foundation who support the growth and development of this sport we love, and finally to the players who have shared so much passion and have allowed me to learn so much and gain many new friends.
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