For the first time in India an AITA ranked wheelchair tennis tournament was conducted from Dec 2nd to Dec 4th at Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association (KSLTA) in Bangalore. The Tabebuia Open Tournament was conducted by ASTHA under the banner of India Wheelchair Tennis Tour (IWTT). The special tournament gets its name from the Tabebuia, a vibrant flower that blooms across the city of Bengaluru during winter.
Tennis is one of the most popular and globally widespread sports today. IWTT aims to enable a vibrant competitive environment for wheelchair tennis in India and encourage a greater level of participation at every level of the game. This tournament under the aegis of the AITA is the first step in our endeavour to put Indian wheelchair tennis on world map over the next three to five years.
We had Sania Mirza, World No. 1 Doubles Player, Winner of 3 Doubles Grand Slams in 2015, Winner of three mixed Doubles Grand Slams, Rahul Dravid, Former Indian Cricket Team Captian, Rohan Bopanna, US Open Runner Up 2010 & Davis Cup Member and Jordanne Whiley, Britain’s No.1 ranked Wheelchair Tennis Player, Won all 4 Doubles Grand Slams in
2014, 2012, 2016 Olympics, US Open Champion 2015 as endorsers for the tournament. Their support was a great moral boost for our players.
1. Publicity about the tournament was created by outdoor campaigns (we had 17 prime hoarding spots across Bangalore with the tournament banner)
2. Social Media publicity through our FB page and Twitter handle.
3. Press Conference with Rohan Bopanna. We had excellent media coverage with 42 coverages in various print, electronic and online media talking about the tournament.
The Tournament witnessed 34 players from across the country who came and participated. The tournament was conducted over 3 days. The categories were Men’s and Women’s singles and doubles.
We had Reeth Abraham, a seasoned athlete and Arjuna Awardee as Chief Guest for the opening ceremony along with Ms. Rajni Mishra, Chief General Manager, SBI as Guest of Honor. Charu Sharma, voice of Indian Cricket was the Chief Guest as part of the closing ceremony.
During the tournament a three hours workshop was conducted to create basic awareness about wheelchair tennis among people with disabilities and their parents and teachers. 12 people with disabilities 5 parents and 5 teachers attended this workshop and learned about the power of sports and interest is being generated in them to take on sports activities
What is next for us?
In the year 2017 our plan is