Nottingham set to host Learning Disability Tennis Midlands Regional Tournament

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Eleven players from the East Midlands Learning Disabilities Tennis Team based at West Bridgford Tennis Club are part of a bumper entry of 58 players who will compete in the Tennis Foundation’s fourth Learning Disability Regional Series tournament of 2017 this weekend, Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th May, at Nottingham Tennis Centre.


The West Bridgford-based players include Aiden Leighton, one of four athletes who returned from the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles in 2015 with tennis gold medals.


Oliver Beadle, Laura Campbell and Lucy Porteous (pictured), who were also gold medallists in Los Angeles, are among other players travelling from across the length and breadth of the country to Nottingham for his weekend’s tournament, which will feature many athletes building towards the Special Olympics GB National Summer Games in Sheffield in August.


The Learning Disability Regional Tournament Midlands consistently draws one of the biggest entries among the annual series of regional tournaments organised by the Tennis Foundation. Each tournament gives players the chance to play for medals against others of a similar tennis ability in a series of round robin groups that enable players to compete using different colour and different compression balls appropriate to their tennis ability.


Participation in disability tennis is currently at record levels across the network of venues managed by the Tennis Foundation – Great Britain’s leading tennis charity.


“As part of its vision to make tennis a sport which is inclusive and accessible to all, the Tennis Foundation is continually increasing the number opportunities for learning disability players of all abilities across the country.  We are delighted to have yet another fantastic entry for our regional series event in Nottingham” said Tennis Foundation Coach Lesley Whitehead. “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.”


Alex Hopkinson and Steven Uttley will be among those hoping to earn local success after the West Bridgford Tennis Club duo both won singles and doubles gold medals at the first two tournaments of the year in Leeds and Welwyn Garden City. Meanwhile, Katherine Ashcroft and Michael Clarke both returned from the last regional series tournament in Wrexham at the end of April with singles gold medals.  


Also competing for honours this weekend will be Birmingham’s Zach Brookes, recently nominated for the Positive Role Model Award at the National Diversity Awards 2017.  Zach’s nomination is endorsed by the Tennis Foundation, and recognises his work talking about his experiences of being transgender in sport and using that as a platform to help and inspire others.


Three more regional events are scheduled this year following this weekend’s tournament in Nottingham, before players once again return to Nottingham Tennis Centre at the end of October for the Tennis Foundation’s National Learning Disability Tennis Championships. 



Image produced courtesy of the Tennis Foundation.



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