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Hot on the heels of Ash Barty’s breakthrough win at the French Open another Australian tennis player has won a first-place trophy at the 3rd International Blind Tennis Tournament which was held in Spain. Ricky Segura, who plays in the B4 category, has an Indigenous mother and Spanish father which made it all the more exciting for him to be playing in Spain the same week as the hometown hero Rafael Nadel collected another clay court trophy.
In an exciting final, Ricky fought hard against his skilful opponent from Great Britain, Neil Fradgley with the result being Ricky (Aus) v N.Fradgeley (GB) 6-4 6-2.
The international championship attracted eighty four competitors from fifteen countries and was held last week in Benidorm, on the south east coast of Spain. Ricky’s team mate, and fellow South Australian, Mark Haskett, finished third place in the B2 category. Players are classified depending on their level of vision with B1 the category for players who are totally blind.
The seven Australian team members, which included a third South Australian, Dragan … and four Victorians, Chris Cypreou, Genamarie Richards, Adam Fayad and Mikey Todorovic were well supported by coaches and volunteers. Throughout the week there were many highs and lows as the team adjusted to the climate, the classification system and the night time karaoke at the tournament resort. The relaxed holiday resort provided opportunities for the players from around the world to meet up and share stories, perhaps a little like an informal Olympic village.
Victorian Blind Sports President Maurice Gleeson, who attended the tournament and is a member of the international governing body, International Blind Tennis Association said it was wonderful week of sportsmanship from the Australian team and the camaraderie amongst the travelling group made the week memorable, as well as the goodwill from other participating countries.
Mikey … described the tournament and the experience as beyond his expectations. He particularly enjoyed chatting with players from around the world and learning about their eye conditions and the way they all value being active in a sport they love. Mikey plans to make a documentary of his experience.
The international tournament is held annually and last year was in Ireland. The 2020 tournament which may be held in Italy, will be an opportunity for Ricky to defend his title and for the Australian team to meet up with new and old friends.
For more information contact Blind Sports & Recreation Victoria on 03 9822 8876 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.