The Northumberland Club hosted the UK’s largest visually impaired tennis tournament, which took place on 12th and 13th May at their home in Jesmond, Newcastle. 49 players from across the UK competed in the tournament including four gold and one silver medal 2018 World Champions.
The Adderstone Foundation have been keen supporters of the North East Visually Impaired Tennis Club (NEVITC) over the last five years. The club, which is based in both Sunderland and Newcastle and was founded in 2010 by coach Wendy Glasper, aims to provide and promote opportunities for people who are blind or have severe visual impairments to participate in tennis. The Foundation supported the running costs of the tournament, including court hire and special sound balls flown in from the far east.
Visually Impaired tennis was invented in Japan and the game is adapted from the full court version to a small court and players use an audible ball. Players compete in various different sight classifications from B1 (for players with little or no sight) through to B4 and B5 who have less severe but often equally challenging visually impairment.
There was success for some of the regional players in the tournament, Samantha Murray from Seaham played in her first visually impaired tennis competition and was crowned champion of the ladies B4/5 event, beating recently crowned world silver medallist, Rosie Pybus.
North East duo, Sidney Tambin from Newcastle and Anthony Harrison from Hartlepool won the B1 doubles competition with a string of impressive victories. While Tees Valley Sound Tennis member Stephen Norcott upset defending champion Neil Fradgley from the Isle of Wight to win the Men’s B4/5 event.
Tournament organiser and Chairman of the NEVITC, Graeme Manwell, was delighted with the quality, camaraderie and sportsmanship on show and has already set his sights on the 2019 tournament. Graeme explained: “The strides that the game has taken and the improvements which players have made over the past few years is quite staggering and the Newcastle tournament is committed to maintaining this momentum by hosting an even bigger event next year.”
“Whilst the financial support from the Adderstone Foundation has enabled the club to grow rapidly, we have exciting plans to work with them in ways which can benefit our players away from the court as well as on it, we have some players who struggle to find employment due to their impairment or by employers attitudes toward impairments, but the wealth of experience within the Foundation can help them to be noticed, identify any skills gaps, coach interview techniques and how to build confidence, this help is invaluable.”
To find more information about the NEVITC visit www.nevitc.org.uk or contact NEVITC Chairman Graeme Manwell on email@example.com. The Club are always looking for dedicated volunteers to help at training sessions or tournaments. The Club is open to any individual who has suffered any form of sight loss and guarantees a warm welcome to all attendees. They hold indoor training sessions across the North East in Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough.