Saturday, December 14, 2019
Tennis

Australian wheelchair tennis event moved after court built at a slope

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An international wheelchair tennis event has long been pushed to move as the show court in a new $16m tennis complex is built on a slope.

The Darwin International Tennis Centre is scheduled to stage the Arafura Games later this month, but wheelchair competitors have already been relegated to at least one of their 14 outside courts.

The new centre, inside suburb of Marrara, was completed May 2018 at the price tag of $16.7m, much more than $16m the fact that was pledged because of the Northern Territory government, with additional funding provided by Tennis Australia and Tennis NT.

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Construction took 12 months, but it hasn’t been well before an issue became apparent: the centre court a 49.5cm slope from just one side to another.

An incline of their size contravenes International Tennis Federation guidelines, meaning no officially-sanctioned events can be played up until the slope is levelled.

Tennis NT had received assurances those guidelines might be met including plenty of time of the unveiling, the first sort world No 53, Sam Groth, who helped launch the complex, said he hoped the “state in the art facility” would have more events like the Davis Cup and Fed Cup to Darwin.

But gradually a legal court sunk into ground, leaving it unfit for the wheelchair component with the upcoming Arafura Games, a biennial multi-sport event where athletes which has a disability compete alongside able-bodied athletes.

Able-bodied tennis players shall be in a position to experience the centre court on the Games as, unlike the wheelchair event, it’s not an ITF-sanctioned event.

This year, the Games feature local and international athletes from 33 countries playing when using 17 sports, including dragon boating, Kick boxing boxing, netball and sepak takraw, alongside more traditional Olympic sports.

The slope is believed to be fixable, but there won’t be any firm plans set up at this point for remedial attempt to start.

Tennis NT said assurances from project managers that the problem will be addressed by early 2019 have never go to fruition and it’s now often unwilling to interrupt a busy upcoming schedule, this includes the week-long Games, beginning on 26 April, and many ITF tournaments inside following months.

The ITF and Australian ranking points events will continue as planned – hardly on centre court – along with the begin to any works may be put here we are at as a minimum a sluggish start October.

Even then, there remains uncertainty about who will foot the check. The NT government will not pump extra money in to the project, but both Tennis NT, which says it doesn’t expect much more tax payer dollars being spent, and the project managers have said they are invested in rectifying the matter.

It’s not initially Darwin has experienced to generate major unexpected changes to the sporting facility to arrive at international guidelines. In 2019 it turned out stated that the 50m Parap pool might need to be replaced simply because it had not been actually 50m long, but 55 yards, or 50.3m.

The then-treasurer Joe Hockey, travelled to Darwin to announce $4.4m in federal funding to rebuild the pool.

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