The inaugural National Blind and Visually Impaired Championships took place on Sunday 14th October at the Ozone Indoor Tennis Arena in Belfast. Twenty players took part from all across Ireland with the biggest contingents from North and South Dublin under the leadership of Sarah O’Donohoe and Liam O’Donohoe, from Sligo with coaches Jean Barr and Olywn O’Toole and from Ulster with coaches Simon McFarland, Michael Blease and Anna Kilpatrick, 7 in the B1 Category and 13 in the B2-5 categories.
This was the largest gathering of Irish Blind and VI players playing competitively together at one venue since the sport was introduced in Ireland only a few years ago. The ethos of the tournament was to give every player as many matches as possible and all the matches were played in great spirit and fantastic attitude. Big mentions go to all the volunteers who helped out on the day, whether it was umpiring, line calling or collecting balls they all did a magnificent job.
A big thanks to Michael Connor for being our official classifier for the day, Michael is an official International Classifier who gave up his Sunday to help out and for Jane Mounsey for hosting a lovely night on Saturday night at CIYMS tennis club for the players. Also to our sponsor for the tournament Hastings Hotels for providing rooms at the Europa and Grand Central at discounted rates and to Ulster President Greg O’Rawe for giving out the medals at the prize giving. A honourable mention to Player of the tournament Helena Mollaghan for showing all the true qualities of sportsmanship and professionalism.