Els and Venter win inaugural Mauritius Open

Mauritius became the latest country to host a UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour event last week when 22 players from Mauritius, South Africa, France and Ireland contested the inaugural ITF Futures Series Mauritius Open at
South African players dominated the closing stages of the tournament, with Mariska Venter and Leon Els living up to their top seeding in the men’s and women’s singles respectively,
In the women’s singles final Venter beat her countrywoman Thando Hlatswayo 75 62. Later Venter and Hlatswayo defeated young Mauritian player Brandy Perrine and South African Nokwanda Hlongwane 60 62.
Mauritius hosted its first world ranking event after being one of the most recent countries to benefit from the Wheelchair Tennis Development Fund. Britain’s Geraint Richards and the ITF’s Suzie Dyrbus both visited Mauritius when the country was one of the Wheelchair Tennis Development Fund projects in 2013-2014.
An example of the progress of Mauritian players came from Marie Jennifer Rosalie, who reached the women’s singles semifinals in her first tournament.
In the men’s single Ireland’s Garreth Greene reached his first ITF Futures Series final as he and Els both continue their efforts to qualify for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. However it as Els’s experience that won the day as he wrapped up a 60 61 victory.
Current Mauritius National Champion Noorani Alleare and Greene were also up against it in the men’s doubles final as they faced Els and Patrick Selepe, with the South African top seeds earning a 60 60 win.
After the finals at the official prize giving ceremony First Lady of Mauritius, Lady Sarojini Devi Jugnauth, Patron of the tournament said:
«Sport plays a key role in the integration of the disabled community in our society. I am happy to note that adequate facilities to promote the development and practice of handisport are provided in Mauritius.»
Organizer of the event and president of PHYSFED, Veronique Marisson, said:
«Thanks to those people who believe in us and who have helped in one way or the other by making this prestigious event possible. Thank you for thinking that ‘in sport, all are equal’. We hope to work more and to have Grade 3 status in 2016.»
The tournament’s social event in Asso Villa on 3rd December celebrated the International Day for People with Disabilities. Players also enjoyed an exhibition of sports racing cars and bikes, with the team from ‘We Are Racing’ taking players on rides along the roads lining the Indian Ocean.
With the tournament complete everyone gathered on the public beach to try Sitting Beach Tennis.

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