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Chennai to host 3rd edition of Marina Open AITA wheelchair tennis tournament

The third edition of Marina Open AITA ranking wheelchair tennis tournament will begin today at the SDAT Stadium at Chennai. Conducted by NGO Astha, there are 42 male and female players from different parts of India who will compete in the tournament that will conclude on 10 August.

The SDAT Tennis Stadium at Nungambakkam in Chennai is all set to host the third edition of the Marina Open AITA ranking wheelchair tennis tournament. The event that will begin today will go on till 10 August where trained wheelchair tennis players will come together to showcase their skills and talents at this renowned platform. Organised by NGO Astha that promotes wheelchair tennis in India, the Marina Open AITA event is supported by Tamil Nadu Tennis Association as well.

This is the third edition in Chennai and all the 42 players have been undergoing rigorous practice sessions since the past few days. There are eight women and thirty four men participating in the Marina Open. One of the players have come all the way from United Kingdom to experience wheelchair tennis in India. Apart from that, there are players from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka as well.

Sunil Jain, Founder of NGO Astha says that this Marina Open AITA tournament is going to be a great platform for wheelchair tennis players, and can open doors to many opportunities.

As an NGO, we are trying to develop wheelchair tennis in India. There must be an increased awareness about the sport and that is very important for the sport to flourish in our country. In 2016, when we started off, there were only twenty two players. Now, we have sixty two players from across India who are playing wheelchair tennis. Astha has also been conducting workshops on wheelchair tennis and other such awareness programmes-Sunil Jain, Founder, Astha.

Jain says that in spite of limited resources, all the players are putting up their best efforts to play the game. "All the players have been practicing rigorously. This event is a platform for wheelchair tennis players to meet, know each other and also learn new things", adds Jain.

Suresh Kumar, a player from Chennai is participating in the tournament for the third time.

"For every player, such tournaments are what drives us to have goals and ambitions. It makes us better players as well. I always practice wheelchair tennis for two hours on weekends. As part of prepping up for the tournament, I have been extending my sessions since the past three months. I'am looking forward to the tournament and I'am sure it is going to be a great experience", says Kumar.

Winners of the tournament are going to take home a prize money of Rs 2. 32 lakhs, not to mention the many other accolades and opportunities that will come along with it. All these wheelchair tennis players are gearing up to put up their best performances and simultaneously, take the sport from India to international platforms.

ALSO READ: Promoting sports among disabled people in rural India - My Take by wheelchair tennis player, Dilip Kumar Gowda

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