Ontario Serves Up Strong Performances at Wheelchair Tennis Nationals
Ontario well represented in Calgary at 2017 Birmingham National Wheelchair Tennis Championships
The Birmingham National Wheelchair Tennis Championships, one of the biggest and most important tournaments held in Canada each year, were hosted at the OSTEN & VICTOR Alberta Tennis Centre in Calgary from October 26-29. 2017 marks the first year the tournament was held in Calgary, and the first time the Birmingham Nationals have been hosted outside of British Columbia, Ontario, or Québec.
The tournament saw an all-Ontario final in the Quad Singles event with Rob Shaw (North Bay, ON) defeating Gary Luker (Stoney Creek, ON) 6-1, 6-0. This was Shaw’s 3rd consecutive Quad Singles National title. Shaw and Luker then paired up to take the Quad Doubles title with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Mika Ishikawa (BC) & Mitch Mcintyre (SK).
In the Women’s Division, 17-year-old Puisand Lai (Toronto, ON) had a silver medal finish in Singles after a 6-0, 7-6(2) loss to Tara Llanes (BC). Llanes and Lai teamed up to earn the Women’s Doubles crown after defeating Natalia Lanucha (QC) & Kristen Sharp (BC) 6-1, 6-1 in the final.
Oakville’s Marko Golic competed in the Men’s Singles and Doubles events. He placed 4th in Singles while he and doubles partner Misha Bilenky (BC) finished 2nd after a 6-2, 6-2 loss to No.1 seeds Philippe Bédard & Jean-Paul Mélo of Québec in the final.
First-time competitors Shawn Courchesne (Brampton, ON) and Gillian Cruz (Grimsby, ON) both competed in the Singles and Doubles events. They each managed to earn their first ever wins during tournament. Courchesne and Cruz only started playing wheelchair tennis during the summer of 2017 and the OWSA cannot wait to see their continued development and improvement!