More than 60 players, including Great Britain’s four medallists from the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles and a number of accomplished local players, are set to take part in this weekend’s Tennis Foundation National Learning Disability Tennis Championships at Wrexham Tennis Centre.
Organised in partnership with Special Olympics Great Britain, the three-day tournament features round-robin singles and doubles competition between players of a similar tennis ability on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Competitors will play using yellow, green or orange tennis balls depending on which group they are contesting as they build up to next August’s Special Olympics GB National Summer Games in Sheffield.
Now in its 13th year, the National Championships see many of the country’s leading learning disabled players compete at Wrexham Tennis Centre for the second time this year. The North Wales venue hosted one of five Tennis Foundation Regional Series tournaments in August, but it will be the first time that Wrexham has hosted the National Championships.
With the National Championships being held in Wales for the first time, among those who will be keen to do well is Builth Wells’ Shain Lewis, who won the men’s Division 1 singles gold medal for the first time in 2015. Lewis’s competition will include Joshua Kerr, one of the players to win singles and doubles gold medals at the Regional Series tournament held in Wrexham over the summer.
The men’s Division 1 singles players also include Oliver Beadle who, along with Aiden Leighton, Laura Campbell and Lucy Porteous, won a total of five gold medals and a bronze medal for Special Olympics Great Britain in Los Angeles in 2015.
Leighton, Campbell and Porteous will also be among the contenders in their own singles and doubles events in Wrexham this weekend, with Campbell contesting the women’s Division 1 singles. Meanwhile Stephen Davies will be among the local Wrexham-based players aiming to repeat his success at Wrexham Tennis Centre’s Regional Series tournament in August, where Davies was the gold medallist in the men’s Division 3 singles.
“This will be the third year that the National Learning Disability Tennis Championships are being held over three days of competition to cater for all the groups and ability levels and we have another fantastic entry,” said Tennis Foundation Coach Lesley Whitehead, who is also Special Olympics Great Britain National Tennis Coaching and Competitions Advisor. “We are very excited to be bringing the National Championships to Wrexham for the very first time, with a strong squad of players from the local area who I’m sure will be keen to do well at their home tennis centre.
“We’ve had another year of great competition at the Tennis Foundation Regional Series events around the country and this year’s National Championships will be another opportunity for the players to practice their skills as they work towards next year’s Special Olympics GB National Summer Games in Sheffield.
The National Learning Disability Tennis Championships will take place at Wrexham Tennis Centre from Friday 28th to Sunday 30th October. Play begins at 11.00 on Friday, 28th October. Entry is FREE for all spectators.