Olly-mpic glory beckons for Upminster youngster

Upminster's Olly Beadle is competing in the Special Olympic World Games in Los Angeles

Upminster's Olly Beadle is competing in the Special Olympic World Games in Los Angeles - Credit: Archant

Tennis ace hoping to serve up medal

The 2016 Olympics in Rio are still quite some distance away, but one 16-year-old from Upminster could be set to claim the first in a long list of medals for Team GB in the next few weeks.

Olly Beadle is a young tennis star who is set to appear alongside three other GB hopefuls at the Special Olympic World Games in Los Angeles which start tomorrow (Saturday).

Beadle, Laura Campbell, Lucy Porteous and Aiden Leighton will all be hoping to bring medals back home from the States as four of the INAS (International Sports Federation For Persons With Intellectual Disability) registered players to take part in the games.

The Special Olympics is set to be one of the largest sporting events of the 2015 calendar with 6,500 participants coming from 165 countries.

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Organisers also expect round 500,000 spectators during the course of the week.

Beadle’s mum, Jackie, who flew out to the US in midweek with her husband, Olly’s brother, nan, aunts and uncles, says he will be experiencing a mixture of nerves, excitement and optimism.

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“I think he’s feeling a bit of everything,” she said. “He’ll be flying off for the first time on his own with the other GB athletes and he’ll be staying in the athlete’s village, far away from home.

“He’s looking forward to playing against some foreign players and he obviously enjoys tennis, so he’ll have a good time whilst he’s there.”

Beadle is no stranger to winning in competitive tennis tournaments, having had success at regional and national level.

He scooped double gold at the 2013 National Olympic Summer Games in Bath, while also winning an array of medals in local tournaments in the last two years, including a singles title at a tournament in Hertfordshire last Spring.

Under the leadership of tennis coach Neil Walker at Cranston Park Lawn Tennis Club, Beadle has been training intensively in order to prepare for one of the biggest tournaments of his career so far.

“He’s come on leaps and bounds since I’ve started coaching him,” said Walker. “He’s much more consistent and is getting more powerful. His game is really coming together.

“He’s been having lessons around lunch time when it’s at the hottest point in the day to get him used to the weather conditions in LA.”

Asked whether she thought Olly had a chance of picking up a medal, mum Jackie added: “I certainly hope so. He’s doing very well nationally and he wins a lot of tournaments in the singles category.

“But on the international stage we don’t know what the competition is going to be like. I imagine the Americans are favourites on their home territory, but he hopes to get a medal.

“I looked at the weather forecast for next week and apparently it’s going to be between 34 and 35 degrees outdoors, so that is going to be a challenge.”

The Special Olympic World Games will run from the July 25 until August 1. For more information, go to la2015.org.

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