Last updated: 25/08/2015

Learning Disability Tennis, Spotlight On: Laura Campbell

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for Laura Campbell having just returned from the Special Olympics World Games with two gold medals to her name in the singles and mixed doubles! We caught up with Laura to find out more about her recent success, how she got into tennis and just what impact it’s had on her life.

Congratulations on your gold medals at the Special Olympics!

Thank you! I really enjoyed the whole experience at the Special Olympics World Summer Games, it was exciting to be in Los Angeles; my first time in America.

Were you expecting to do so well in the tournament?

Before the games I hoped I may win a medal, perhaps two, however I'm thrilled to have won two golds in singles and mixed doubles.  Like the rest of the GB team, I trained very hard in the run up to the competition and our results prove that all that effort really is worthwhile.

Tell us a bit more about how you got into tennis.

 I started playing tennis at Applefields School in York as one of a number of sports options offered to pupils. It was my favourite sport and one that I did quite well in. I also played on Saturdays just to get out of the house and be active. I never really considered playing competitively until I was selected to represent Special Olympics Yorkshire & Humberside, along with five other players, for the 2009 National Summer Games in Leicester. I was placed in the ladies’ top division and came fourth, also winning a bronze for mixed doubles.

What has been your biggest success so far?

Apart from the two golds at the World Games I have been lucky enough to be selected for the Special Olympics European Summer Games in Warsaw (2010), Special Olympics National Summer Games in Bath (2013), and Special Olympics European Tennis Tournament in Luxembourg (2013). I have also played in a number of National & Regional Tennis Foundation tournaments.

What has playing tennis bought to your life?

I never thought that tennis would become such a big part of my life and I didn’t expect that it would result in me being selected to represent GB in the Special Olympics World Summer Games!

I feel that my game has improved a lot over the last year with the help of my coach, Andy Crockett from Tennis for All, part of the Tennis Foundation’s York Disability Tennis Network. I have had the opportunity to play against a variety of very able players which has strengthened my skills and Andy has also encouraged me to undertake my level 1 Coaching Assistant qualification, which I passed earlier in the year. The support I’ve received from Andy, his assistant Jill and all his volunteers has been fantastic, as well as Wigginton Tennis Club who have been extremely supportive.

I’d really encourage people to give tennis a go, whatever your ability as it’s such a fun game to play and you could end up travelling all over the world!

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