Fourteen players from the East Midlands Learning Disabilities Tennis Team based at West Bridgford Tennis Club will compete in the Tennis Foundation’s second Learning Disability Regional Series Midlands tournament this weekend, Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th May, at Nottingham Tennis Centre. They form part of a bumper entry of 52 players at the event.
The West Bridgford-based players include Aiden Leighton, one of four athletes selected to represent Great Britain in tennis at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles this July and August. Scot Lucy Porteous, Yorkshire’s Laura Campbell and Essex player Oliver Beadle, also selected for Los Angeles, will also compete for medals in Nottingham over the Bank Holiday Weekend.
This is the second year the Tennis Foundation has had a series of regional learning disability tournaments across the country.
Each tournament gives players the chance to play for medals against others of similar tennis ability, while also working towards the National Learning Disability Tennis Event. Now in its 12th year, the 2015 National Learning Disability Tennis Event will be held at Nottingham Tennis Centre on 30th October to 1st November.
West Bridgford’s players won five gold medals in their respective singes events at last May‘s Regional Series Midlands event in Nottingham, Matthew Chilvers and Leighton and Steven Uttley having already won gold medals in their respective men’s singles events at the two regional series tournaments held so far this year in Leeds and Welwyn Garden City.
Radlicffe-on-Trent’s Katherine Ashcroft leads the local entry in the women’s singles and doubles events.
“The Tennis Foundation is continually increasing the number opportunities for learning disability players of all abilities across the country and we are delighted to have an entry for our regional series event in Nottingham that’s even bigger than it was in 2014, with players from the length and breadth of Britain,” said Tennis Foundation Coach Lesley Whitehead, who is also Special Olympics Great Britain National Tennis Coaching and Competitions Advisor. “Tennis is a fun sport with many health benefits and can be adapted for players of all abilities, as this weekend’s event will demonstrate.”
Lesley used to coach the East Midlands Group at West Bridgford Tennis Centre before moving to Scotland, where she continues to concentrate on the development of disability tennis. Her daughter Mel now coaches the East Midlands Group and both will travel to Los Angeles this summer as coaches to the four tennis players selected to the Special Olympics World Summer Games.