British 14-year-old Anna McBride has become the 2018 International Federation for Athletes with Intellectual Impairments (World Intellectual Impairment Sport) Tennis women’s singles world champion after beating defending title holder Hanne Lavreyson in Paris, France, on Saturday (21 July).
McBride beat the Belgian 6-2, 6-0 despite picking up an injury in the second set. The British teenager forced multiple mistakes from her opponent who was searching for a third consecutive title.
McBride however took the gold on her major international debut. That added to her mixed doubles title with Dominic Iannotti from Friday (20 July).
“I’m really happy to have come through a tough battle and really proud to play for Great Britain and represent female tennis, it was a good match,” McBride said.
“In the second set I realised that my movement was effected because my back was hurting so I just played more high percentage tennis into the back of the court, keeping it deep so she couldn’t move me around more.”
Of her future plans after an incredible first Worlds, McBride continued: “Unfortunately in the last year I’ve had a back injury and also an ankle injury so I’ve not been able to train but in the next year I’ll be looking to play more ITF [International Tennis Federation] tennis and also do blocks of training in Spain. And continue to train with World Intellectual Impairment Sport and hopefully I’ll get picked for the team again.”
The bronze went to Australia’s Kelly Wren after she beat compatriot Carla Lenarduzzi.
Australia’s Archie Graham claimed his fourth consecutive men’s singles world title.
Playing Great Britain’s Fabrice Higgins the world no.1 reached a straight sets victory (6-3, 6-1) on court A. Higgins did unsettle the defending champion with a scattering of great shots, but Graham kept his cool.
With his win the Australian places himself in a good position ahead of his home World Championships in 2019. He will play at the World Intellectual Impairment Sport Global Games in Brisbane – the world’s biggest high performance sports events for athletes with intellectual impairments.
“I feel a little bit tired but very emotional and good at the moment,” Graham said. “It’s a good feeling to win the fourth title in a row.
“It’s always tough against Fabrice. We’ve played a few matches before and it’s always a grinder – today was no different. I always get excited when I win against him, he’s a top player.”
The Czech Republic’s Ondrej Sedlisky emerged from the bronze medal game as the winner against Australia’s Mitchell James.
A close two sets saw Sedlisky take the win in 7-5, 6-4.
Men’s doubles delivers
Iannotti and Higgins partnered to win a tense men’s doubles final against Australia’s Damian Phillips and Graham.
The match was one of the highlights of the day with both sides registering impressive plays.
However it was Iannotti and Higgins that had the edge, holding their nerve to win 6-4, 6-3. Unable to hide their delight with retaining their title, the duo shouted with joy when their opponents’ final shot landed wide.
“It was a great feeling when that last shot went out,” Higgins said. “It was a tough game but I believed in mine and Dom’s ability to come through that game and we started the game how we finished it – strong and aggressive – and I think the better team in the end.”
Iannotti continued: “As Fab said it was important to communicate well, to work together. We knew it was going to be a very tough final having played [Graham and Phillips] last year and that being very close as well. When that last point ended we were so happy to get the title and hopefully there will be many more to come.”
The Czech Republic picked up the bronze courtesy of Jiri Humhal and Selidsky.
As well as cycling and tennis, athletics, basketball, cycling, hockey, table tennis, swimming and petanque were all contested. The 2018 World Intellectual Impairment Sport European Summer Games were organised by World Intellectual Impairment Sport Europe.