The International Blind Tennis Association (I.B.T.A.) with the help of the Sound Tennis Foundation has celebrated the First International Blind Tennis Tournament: Spain 2017.
This amazing tournament was held in Alfaz del Pí, a small city located in the east of Spain, very close to Benidorm, belonging to the city of Alicante and bordering with the white coast, where you can enjoy the Mediterranean Sea beaches.
Between 6th May to 13th May we could all enjoy a unique esperience with the participation of 14 countries: Australia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Mauritius, Poland, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Great Britain, Ireland, Mexico and USA.
This tournament has managed to bring together more than 60 world-class players and 130 persons including players, coaches, classifiers and assistants.
We started with the arrival of the different delegations between Friday 5th May and Saturday 6th May.
On Saturday afternoon, we had the Opening Ceremony where we welcomed all the participating countries and we explained how the tournament would take place, as well as how the sight classification was to be conducted. The Opening Ceremony was followed by a dinner and after that, we had a spanish music show where the participants could enjoy dancing and singing.
On Sunday 7th and Monday 8th, the sight classification for all players took place despite the poor state of health of the classifiers, because they had severe stomach ache. Thank you very much for your great effort.
On Monday morning, we started with the matches of the B1 category and the players could start to compete. Their dream had come true: participate in the first International Blind Tennis Tournament.
On Tuesday 9th May, the B2 and B3 categories started to compete under the Round Robin system.
On Wednesday 10th May, the quarter-finals, semifinals and 3rd/4th places of all the categories were held and we enjoyed some very interesting matches.
On Thursday 11th May, the finals took place and no spectator could say they were disappointed as the level was so high in all classes.
Everybody who atended the tournament noted the wonderful atmosphere of competition and camaraderie between players, coaches and umpires. Also, fair play was the common denominator during the whole tournament.
On Friday morning, we had a training methodology session where the different coaches were given the opportunity to share their personal experience in training Blind Tennis players.
Finally, on Friday afternoon, we had a Blind Tennis country representatives meeting.
On Saturday 13th May, it was time to say goodbye to this awesome tournament and all the delegations returned to their home countries.
We hope this first International Blind Tennis Tournament will be a major step in the development of Blind Tennis around the world. We believe this tournament takes us one step closer to the fulfillment of the dream of Mr. Miyoshi Takei: Getting Blind Tennis to become a paralympic sport.