Great Britain’s tennis players completed the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games with a total haul of five gold medals and a bronze medal after Aiden Leighton, Oliver Beadle and Laura Campbell all won singles gold medals on the last day of competition.
Leighton brought his ‘A’ game to his men’s singles Level 4 gold medal match against Ahmed Gouily of Egypt and won 4-2, 4-1.
Beadle had a tougher match against a much stronger opponent than he had faced in his opening match and needed to stay focused and serve consistently, but he accomplished his task admirably to beat Tom Thierie of Belgium 6-2, 6-4 and win the men’s singles Level 5+ gold medal.
The last final of the day for a Great Britain player saw Campbell take on Kelly Toex, a strong player from Luxembourg, for the women’s singles Level 5 gold medal. After two close games at the beginning of the first set a strong service game put Campbell 3-0 ahead and her opponent struggled to find her form as Campbell eased to the gold medal 4-0, 4-0.
“Over the last 18 months, all the players have been working hard on specific areas of their game together with a comprehensive fitness programme. The improvement and performance of each of them has shown that hard work has its rewards,” said Head Coach Lesley Whitehead, who accompanied her daughter Mel on the tennis coaching team for Special Olympics Great Britain. “Every player has improved so much and they are now playing with more confidence and belief in their abilities.
“Myself & Mel are very proud of the achievements of all of the tennis team. They have been a pleasure to be with and to work with and congratulations all of them. A big thank you, too, to all the families, friends and Jo Farquharson from the Tennis Foundation, who came out to support us, as well as staff, coaches and other athletes from Team GB.”
Tennis Medal Tally
Olly Beadle – Men’s Singles Level 5+ Gold; Mixed Doubles Level 5 Gold
Laura Campbell – Women’s Singles Level 5 Gold; Mixed Doubles Level 5 Gold
Aiden Leighton – Men’s Singles Level 4 Gold; Mixed Doubles Level 4 Gold
Lucy Porteous – Women’s Singles Level 4 Bronze; Mixed Doubles Level 4 Gold
Special Olympics World Summer Games LA 2015 Website
Special Olympics Great Britain
Lucy Porteous won her second medal of the Special Olympics World Summer Games and a third tennis medal for Great Britain when claiming bronze in a marathon play-off match in the women’s singles Level 4 event in Los Angeles.
With Porteous taking on Patricia Romo of Mexico, the Scot took an early lead over the Mexican with some excellent tennis, winning the first set 4-1. In the second set Romo played more solidly and took it 4-2 to force a deciding match tie-break.
Porteous went 5-0 down in the match tie-break but made an excellent comeback to level the score at 5-5. The points then swung from one player to another, with both players playing some fine tennis. However, it was Porteous who just edged the match, eventually winning 4-1, 2-4, (13-11) to claim the bronze medal to add to her mixed doubles gold medal.
The penultimate day of competition saw legends Pete Sampras, Michael Chang and Pam Shriver all visit the tennis venue, while the Great Britain tennis team also found time to visit Santa Monica beach.
Three more medals are guaranteed on Saturday’s last day of tennis competition, when Aiden Leighton plays Ahmed Gouily of Egypt for the Level 4 men’s singles gold medal, Olly Beadle plays Tom Thierie of Belgium for the Level 5+ men’s singles gold medal and Laura Campbell plays Kelly Toex of Luxembourg for the Level 5 women’s singles gold medal.
Oliver Beadle and Aiden Leighton will join Laura Campbell in playing for three more gold medals for Special Olympics Great Britain in Los Angeles after Beadle and Leighton both won their opening men’s singles matches.
Beadle beat Jeffrey Scott of the USA 6-0, 6-0 as the men's Level 5+ singles got underway. Meanwhile, Leighton came through a really tense and close match, beating Ahsan Anwar of Pakistan 5-4, 5-4 in the men's Level 4 singles played in a short sets format.
Both Brits will play their gold medal matches on Saturday morning in Los Angeles.
Lucy Porteous will play her women’s singles Level 4 bronze medal play-off match on Friday morning against Patricia Romo of Mexico. Campbell will play Kelly Toex of Luxembourg on Saturday morning for gold or silver Level 5 women’s singles final.
The day finished with all four players receiving their mixed doubles gold medals.
Oliver Beadle and Laura Campbell and Aiden Leighton and Lucy Porteous ensured two gold medals for Great Britain in the mixed doubles events in Los Angeles as the quest for tennis medals got underway.
Beadle and Campbell played Michael Wren and Madison Wall of Australia in their opening match in the Level 5 mixed doubles, winning 4-2 4-1. Later in the day they won the first tennis gold medal for the Special Olympics Great Britain team in Los Angeles when defeating Nadav Sarfati and Ofir Avishay of Israel 4-0, 4-0.
Leighton and Porteous (pictured), a singles silver medallist and doubles gold medallist at the last Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens in 2011, played Thomas Wendt and Susanne Steffen of Germany in their first match in the Level 4 mixed doubles and came through a close contest, winning 5-4, 5-3. They went ont to add a second tennis gold medal when they beat Shunji Tobita and Akina Horiguchi of Japan 5-4, 4-1.
The women's singles is also underway, with Campbell beating Laura Thompson of the USA 4-1, 4-2 in her opening match in the Level 5 women's singles. However, Porteous slipped to a 4-1, 4-1 loss to Sharon Sjouwerman of the Netherlandss in her first match in her Level 4 singles event.
Thursday's schedule in Los Angeles sees the start of the men's singles events.
The four players are accompanied in Los Angeles by Special Olympics Great Britain Head Coach for tennis Lesley Whitehead and coach Mel Whitehead.