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SYVITC Tennis Story

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The first recreational tournament held by South Yorkshire Visually Impaired Tennis Club (SYVITC) was a huge success, garnering players from across the country. The tournament was held at the Hallamshire Tennis and Squash Club on Saturday the 3rd of September. The tournament featured B1, B2 and B3 categories of players and witnessed over a dozen players taking part.

The B1 category winner, Sidney Tambin was delighted with the SYVITC Competition as were the runner-ups Paul Bailey and Kate Allott. Meanwhile, the world number 2, Jim Currie, breezed into the finals and won the B2 category. Currie has played competitive tennis for several years and is eyeing the World VI games in Birmingham next year.

Currie was highly supportive of the work done by SYVITC, he said, “This is what it is all about. The more you do the better the players become. Being here and rallying with them, giving them some encouragement.”

He further added, “We have all been there, and I started from there where they are. It is a pity, I wish I had learnt it much earlier. I am 65 now! But there is no age limit, everybody can get involved.”

The club secretary of SYVITC, Janiece Wallace, was thrilled by the success of the tournament that fetched a great number of players. After getting inspired by the Visually Impaired tennis centre in Newcastle, Wallace started, along with her Coach, Ben Howarth, the SYVITC for players in Yorkshire and surrounding areas.

Janiece said, “We have all been buzzing and everybody has had a great time and a great experience. I wanted our members to experience what a tournament feels like, to encourage them to play more and practice more. So they can put themselves forth for more tournaments and I want them to get better at tennis. And I want it to be a big part of their life as it is a big part of my life. It gives me a lot of joy to see them having fun.”

She further added, “At the Hallamshire Tennis Club, Helen Shaw and Tamsyn Leopold have been our main contacts. They have been very accommodating and helpful. We have had amazing assistance from the local Sheffield blind charity, Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind, plus support from Dan Maskell Tennis Trust charity, British Blind Sport, Yorkshire Sport Foundation, Nuffield Health and The Lawn Tennis Association.  Part of the Club's success has been its sighted volunteers, amongst whom is Marie Pierce who has helped with weekday sessions, including help with transport Marie continues to support the Club’s committee as Volunteer Coordinator.”

The treasurer and tournament organizer for the tournament David Wallace ended the competition with a handout of medals to participants and trophies for all the winners.

Looking forward from here the SYVITC aims to help more players to join tennis as a hobby. They offer membership to all players which will provide them weekly indoor sessions starting October and a monthly coach-led session as well.

Article supplied by SYVITC and written by Academy Coach at the Hallamshire Tennis and Squash Club and also a freelance journalist, Jagriti Choudhry.

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