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Four-strong tennis team to represent GB at Deaflympics 2017

Four players on the Tennis Foundation’s Deaf Tennis Performance Programme have been selected to represent DeaflympicsGB at the 23rd Summer Deaflympics in Samsun, Turkey, from 18-30 July 2017. Tennis events will take place at Samsum Tennis Club from 19-28 July.

Team photo of GB deaf tennis team

The players will be accompanied by the Tennis Foundation’s National Deaf Tennis Coach and former Deaflympics gold medallist Catherine Fletcher, as part of the wider DeaflympicsGB delegation of 63 athletes representing DeaflympicsGB across 5 different sports.

The Great Britain team is comprised of four players, who will contest men’s singles and doubles events:

  • Jack Clifton - 21 from Purley, Surrey
  • Toby Clifton - 15 from Purley, Surrey
  • Lewis Fletcher - 31 from Burderop, Wiltshire
  • Esah Hayat, 15 from Finchley, London
  • Catherine Fletcher - National Coach and Tennis Team Manager
  • Andy Graham – Sports Therapist
  • Nicholas Ansell – Welfare Officer

Lewis Fletcher will contest his third Deaflympics after reaching the bronze medal play-off in the men’s doubles in Taipei in 2009 and the mixed doubles bronze medal play-off in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2013. Jack Clifton will contest his second Deaflympics after making his debut in the event in Sofia in 2013.

Toby Clifton and Esah Hayat will both make their Deaflympics debuts in Samsun this year.

Team coach and five-time Deaflympian and two-time Deaflympic medallist Catherine Fletcher, said: 

“We’ve got a great mixture of youth and experience in the Great Britain tennis team for these Deaflympics, with all four players having enjoyed medal success in the last two years at either the 1st World Deaf Tennis Championships or last year’s European Championships.
“The Deaflympics is the pinnacle for our elite deaf athletes and having made my international debut at the age of 12 and played in the first of five Deaflympics 20 years ago this year, I’m sure it’s going to be an especially inspiring experience for Esah and Toby as they make their Deaflympics debuts."

She continues:

“We hope the selected GB players will inspire the next generation to pick up a racket and increase the number of deaf tennis players across the country playing for fun or feeding into the Tennis Foundation’s deaf tennis pathway to nurture even more future talents.”

The Tennis Foundation works to open up tennis to its priority audiences of disabled people, young people in education and people in lower socio-economic communities, making it possible for them to enjoy the many health and social benefits of the sport whilst maximising their personal potential.

As part of this work, the Tennis Foundation oversees a deaf tennis performance programme and organises ‘Have Go Days’ and Talent ID Camps to help players develop their skills.

To assist players who would like to progress from playing for fun to competing at the highest level as a deaf tennis player, the Tennis Foundation has produced the Game On guide to advise on the different pathways that can be followed to reach the summit of the sport.

Find out more on the Tennis Foundation website.

Keep up to date on the action from Summer Deaflympics 2017 and GB team, follow @DeaflympicsGB on Twitter.