Great Britain announce team for 2019 International Blind Tennis Tournament
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Eight British visually impaired tennis players have been selected to compete in the 2019 International Blind Tennis Tournament in Benidorm next month.
Last year Great Britain clinched an impressive six golds and one silver medal and will look to return this year with more.
Organised by the International Blind Tennis Association in partnership with Sound Tennis Foundation, the tournament is running from 12–16 June and will see over 70 players from 15 different countries playing over the course of the week. With emphasis placed on inclusivity, the tournament is open to players from B1 – B4 classifications, with B4 players’ part of the official competition for the first time this year.
Led by Head Coach Louise Assioun, the following British players have been selected for this year’s squad:
- Nikhil Nair – Cambridge (B1)
- Rachel Morgan – London (B1)
- James Currie – Manchester (B2)
- Amanda Large (pictured above winning a gold medal in 2018) – Manchester (B2)
- Paul Ryb – London (B3)
- Sarah Fortescue – Milton Keynes (B3)
- Neil Fradgley – Isle of Wight (B4)
- Rosine Pybus – Middlesbrough (B4)
Speaking ahead of the event, Claire McCulloch – Disability Competitions Manager at the LTA, who is managing the GB team said: "We’re thrilled to be heading to the International Blind Tournament for the third year in a row. Blind and visually impaired tennis is growing as a sport and after last year’s success in Dublin, we’re excited to see what this year will bring. We’re hoping our GB players will inspire the next generation to pick up a racket at one of the many disability tennis sessions supported by the LTA across the UK”
Echoing McCulloch’s sentiments, Head Coach Assioun added: "I am proud and excited to be accompanying the GB VI Team as we head out to Spain for the third World Championships. Building on last year’s performance - where the team won six golds and one silver, we hope to take advantage of our experience to achieve similar success, as we continue to demonstrate the strength and depth of the sport in the UK"
With ambitions to become a Paralympic sport in the future, visually impaired tennis is adapted from the full court version to a smaller court, with a lower net. It also uses an audible ball so players can hear it bounce and being hit. Depending on an individual’s sight level, they can also be allowed up to three bounces before they must return it back to their opponent.