The Northumberland Club in Jesmond has continued its fantastic work with disability tennis by hosting the North East Visually Impaired Tennis Championships 2015, sponsored by Adderstone Foundation. The event took place over the weekend of 16th and 17th May 2015.
The tournament, which attracted over forty blind and visually impaired tennis players from all over the UK, has quickly become established as an “unmissable” event in the disability tennis calendar.
This is the third year that Adderstone Foundation has supported the North East Visually Impaired Tennis Club (NEVITC) and, over the period, the club has more than trebled in size, hosted the largest visually impaired tennis tournament in the UK outside of London and now holds three training sessions each week in Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough.
Visually Impaired Tennis features sound balls, extra bounces and smaller courts and, as a result of awareness raised for Disability Sport during the 2012 Paralympics, it has seen its following grow over recent years.
Visually impaired players (B2, B3, B4 sight classification) compete on reduced sized courts and use sound balls to help with their coordination around the court. Apart from being allowed two bounces of the ball and players not being allowed to volley, the game is played with the same standard tennis rules. This offers the same experience as the full game which is one of the main attractions for the visually impaired players.
Blind tennis players (B1 classification) compete on badminton sized courts and are allowed a maximum of three bounces. All players wear eye shades which allow partially sighted players to compete on an equal footing with those who are blind.
Graeme Manwell, Chairman of the NEVITC said: “It was fantastic to have so many players involved in the event and to see how much the visually impaired game has grown in the twelve months since last held the competition.
“Not only have I seen a great improvement in the players’ ability but I’m also seeing many new people involved within the game. Many factors are required to run a tournament of this size; notably the players, officials and an amazing contribution from a small team of local volunteers.
“In addition, the tournament could not have happened without the continued generous financial support from the Adderstone Foundation and the generosity of the Northumberland Lawn Tennis Association and the Northumberland Club for allowing us to host such a great event at their venue.
“Disability tennis is becoming more and more inclusive at the Northumberland Club and the County Tennis Ground and for this all members should feel very proud.”
Ian Baggett, Trustee of the Adderstone Foundation said: “We continue to be repeatedly blown away by the passion, skill and dedication of the NEVITC. It is a pleasure to be involved in the club and to see how the players continue to overcome personal challenges to participate in a sport that they love.”
For further information about visually impaired tennis in the North East, please email firstname.lastname@example.org