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Home » Ice Hockey » Wheelchair tennis players at Arafura Games forced off wonky main court – ABC News

Wheelchair tennis players at Arafura Games forced off wonky main court – ABC News


April 12, 2019 16:41:45

Wheelchair tennis players competing in Darwin’s upcoming Arafura Games will not be able to use the new $17 million main court because an international regulating body found it was too sloped.

Key points:

  • The Arafura Games begin in Darwin in two weeks’ time
  • An integrated para program will include athletics, swimming, tennis and table tennis
  • But wheelchair tennis players will not be able to use the main court

The Darwin International Tennis Centre court, which was finished last October, has a 49-centimetre slope across it from one side to the other.

Tennis NT chief executive officer Sam Gibson said this 2 per cent gradient was found to be twice the acceptable level permitted by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) for wheelchair competitions.

This means wheelchair tennis players from around the world will have to play on 14 outside courts, while the able-bodied competition, which is not internationally sanctioned, will continue on the covered main arena.

“Unfortunately, the ITF wheelchair component of the Arafura Games won’t be able to use the show court because the court doesn’t comply with the ITF recommendations,” Mr Gibson said.

“So that means that the wheelchair component will be played on the other courts.”

While Arafura Games Minister Natasha Fyles deemed the new court a “fantastic new facility”, she said the fact it could not be used by wheelchair tennis players was “concerning”.

Taxpayers won’t foot the bill: Tennis NT

The NT Government contributed more than $16 million for the lopsided new court.

It is yet to be fixed more than five months after the slope was revealed.

Mr Gibson said project managers were working on the problem and expected to begin work to rectify it in October at the earliest.

He did not say how much it was expected to cost.

“We’ve made it clear that we don’t expect the Territory Government or taxpayers to contribute any more funding to this facility and that will just be a matter for the project team to figure that out,” Mr Gibson said.

The Arafura Games will run in Darwin from April 26 to May 4, with more than 1,500 athletes and team officials from more than 30 nations expected.

The para events will run in conjunction with the main schedule.

In some disciplines, such as table tennis, para athletes will use the Arafura Games for qualification ahead of the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.

The wheelchair tennis competition will give junior players the chance to earn rankings points in an ITF-sanctioned event.









First posted

April 12, 2019 14:25:02

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