Norwich pair enhance county's reputation with School Games golds
PUBLISHED: 09:15 06 September 2018 | UPDATED: 09:15 06 September 2018
Norwich duo Ben Bartram and Ruby Bishop won the boys' and girls' wheelchair tennis singles titles at the 2018 School Games to complete a remarkable hat-trick of success for their home city.
The wins for the duo came on the same weekend that Norfolk’s world number two Alfie Hewett won a Super Series title in the USA as he completed his US Open preparations, further building the region’s reputation as one of the hotbeds of wheelchair tennis talent.
The School Games are a national multi-sport event for the UK’s most talented school-age athletes. Athletes from across the UK competed in 11 sports, including wheelchair tennis.
In the boys’ singles final, Bartram beat Surrey’s Greg Slade 5-3 4-2. Bartram had gone in to the tournament as the form player, having won both singles and doubles titles at the annual British Open in July. That was a feat he repeated in Loughborough, teaming up with Slade to add the School Games boys doubles gold to his singles victory.
After the singles final, Bartram said: “It was really hard, definitely in the first set. I was so tense and so nervous, but in the second set when I got the first one I just released and felt more confident. It’s amazing, it is honestly one of the biggest tournaments I’ve won. I recently won the British Open – I won the singles and doubles for that. It is amazing to win the gold here, it is honestly a great achievement. My sporting goals for the future are to play at Wimbledon and the Paralympics, and to represent my country again would be amazing.”
In the girls’ singles, Bishop beat 2018 British Open winner Abbie Breakwell from Derbyshire 4-2 1-4 (10-7) before teaming up with Wales’ Lilly Folland to win silver in the girls’ doubles.
Speaking after her singles win, Bishop said: “I’ve never beaten her before so it was a really good match to actually beat her. The first set I played really well and then dropped a bit in the second but got it back in the tie break. I competed at the School Games last year and got bronze in the singles and silver in the doubles, but this year I have gold. I just don’t really believe that I’ve done it, it’s amazing really. I definitely want to do it as a career, and play in the World Team Cup hopefully next year and Paralympics in the future.”