Vision Impaired Tennis Tournament in Gibraltar
A group of METRO members took part in the first VI tennis tournament to be held in Gibraltar from 15 to 19 July.
The tournament was organised by Jack Fisher and family members and sponsored by the Gibraltar government. Our appreciation to all those who contributed to making this possible.
The tournament was promoted locally by a government press release and an article in the Gibraltar Chronicle.
Press release :
Visually Impaired Tennis Tournament taking Place on the Rock
July 18, 2019
A group of visually impaired tennis players from the UK are currently in Gibraltar taking part in a tennis tournament held at the Sandpits Lawn Tennis Club. The finals will be played tomorrow Friday at 11am with trophies presented on its conclusion.
This idea of bringing the event over to Gibraltar has been the brain child of Jack Fisher, a local visually Impaired tennis player currently undertaking a Phd in Mathematics and currently taking part in various tennis tournaments across the UK.
Regional Visually Impaired tennis tournaments are hosted across the UK, giving opportunities for people who are blind or partially sighted to play tennis. The visually impaired (VI) version of the game is played on a smaller court than usual, with a lower net with an audible ball so that the player can hear it bounce. Depending on your sight, you’re allowed up to three bounces before returning.
The players were particularly pleased with the quality of the grounds especially with the colour contrast it provided, which was particularly helpful to them. The grounds were recently refurbished to host the Tennis competition for the Island Games.
Earlier this week the Minister for Equality the Hon Samantha Sacramento, on behalf of the Minister for Sport, Steven Linares, met with the group. The General public are encouraged to attend the final and offer their support to the players.
Article in the Gibraltar chronicle.
Visually impaired tennis tournament final today
by Gabriella Peralta
A group of visually impaired tennis players are competing in a final of a locally organised tournament today.
The tournament is the brainchild of local visually impaired tennis player Jack Fisher, aged 25, who is currently undertaking a Phd in Mathematics.
Mr Fisher plays regularly in tournaments while studying in the UK and decided to bring the sport of visually impaired tennis to Gibraltar.
The tournament that has been sponsored by the Gibraltar Government, has taken place every morning this week at Sandpits tennis courts, and sees UK players compete.
The game created in 1986 stays true to tennis except for some changes.
Players have visual classifications from B1 up to B5, with B5 being the highest sight level.
To even the field, those with similar sight classifications play against each other. For example, a player with a lower sight level such as B1 would typically not be pitted against a B3.
The rackets are the same, but the tennis ball has been adapted and the courts are slightly smaller.
The ball is larger, soft and spongy, with a bell tucked inside.
Before the player serves they must shout ‘ready, go’ to alert the other player.
The rules allow for the ball to bounce on the ground between one and three times depending on the visual classification of the player.
The bounce ensures that the adapted ball rings and allows players to gage in which direction the ball is coming from.
At the tournament Paul Gillett, Maja Vojnovic, Brenda Cassell, Aemonn Shearing, Everton Amos, and Christine Lawrence from the UK are all classed as B3 players.
Husband and wife duo Allan and Johanna Turnbull both have a B2 classification, and Maria Oshodi, who joined in the fun and played friendly matches, did not compete in the tournament and has a B1 classification.
Joe Enriles organised the matches at Sandpits, having researched visually impaired tennis and sorted the players in different categories depending on their eyesight classification.
Mr Fisher, who has B3 eyesight, will be competing in today’s final against Ms Cassell, having each played four matches over the past week.
He added that it has been fun organising the tournament and playing with the other players.
Mr Fisher told the Chronicle he starting playing visually impaired tennis six years ago with his dad.
“It gave me something to do in the summer,” Mr Fisher said.
“He googled it and found these rules for tennis. Then my dad found tournaments in England and he entered me in one of the tournaments when he was dropping me off at university.
When I played in that tournament it was the first time I ever played properly.”
Mr Fisher decided to organise the tournament when he came home to Gibraltar for summer and was talking to Paulette Massetti at Sandpits. “Joe kindly gave us the courts here at Sandpits to use,” Mr Fisher said.“ He made sure the courts were set up and he learnt the rules.”