Players from the East Midlands Learning Disabilities Tennis Team based at West Bridgford Tennis Club won three singles gold medals and three doubles gold medals over the weekend after another strong set of performances at the National Learning Disability Tennis Championships at Nottingham Tennis Centre.
With players competing in a series of round-robin events against others of a similar tennis ability, Dominic Hubner ended the event with a brace of gold medals after partnering Ryan Caven, the player he had beaten to win his Division 8 singles gold medal, to win the men’s doubles Division 5 gold medal.
An exceptional year for the West Bridgford-based players saw Aiden Leighton win a singles gold medal and a doubles silver medal to add to the men’s singles and mixed doubles gold medals he won during the summer at the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.
There was also a men’s singles gold medal for Michael Clarke, who remained unbeaten in Division 3 before partnering fellow East Midlands Team member Mathew Chilvers to win bronze in the Division 2 doubles after Chilvers had won the silver medal in the Division 2 singles.
Chilvers and Clarke were one of three all-West Bridgford-based partnerships to win doubles medals as Leigh Foster and Katherine Ashcroft won silver in their mixed doubles event to add to their respective silver and bronze medals in their men’s and women’s singles events.
Meanwhile, Scott Brown and James Cregan added another silver medal together in the Division 4 men’s doubles after Cregan edged Brown out of bronze medal position in the men’s Division 6 singles.
There was further gold medal success in the Division 1 mixed doubles as Luke East partnered Yorkshire’s Laura Cambpell to go one better than he had when winning a singles silver medal.
Steven Uttley was a gold medallist in the Division 2 mixed doubles, too, as he got the better of another East Midlands Team member, Alex Hopkinson, in singles and doubles. Uttley partnered Scot Lucy Porteous to win gold in the mixed doubles as Hopkinson and his Scottish partner Lauren Waddell secured the silver medal in the same event. Meanwhile, Uttley was a silver medallist in the men’s Division 9 singles, with Hopkinson taking the bronze medal.
As all 12 of the players based in West Bridgford completed the National Championships with at least one silver medal in either singles or doubles, Joseph Eccles made up for missing out on a singles bronze medal when he partnered Welshman Shain Lewis to clinch the silver medal in the Division 1 men’s doubles.
“I’m extremely proud of all our players. For them all to have come away with at least one silver medal or better is a great achievement,” said Mel Whitehead, Coach of the East Midlands Learning Disabilities Tennis Team.
“After Aiden won his two gold medals at the World Games in Los Angeles and our players produced some great performances at the Tennis Foundation’s Regional Series tournament around the country, including here in Nottingham, we are excited for 2016 as the players continue to enjoy their tennis and work hard in our regular sessions. It’s tremendous to see the improvements that they are continually making.”
To find out more about learning disability tennis go to www.ldtennis.org.uk. For more information about Special Olympics Great Britain visit www.specialolympicsgb.org.uk.