By Mariam Khan | for INAS
Belgium’s defending women’s singles champion Hanne Lavreysen has revealed that she still sees Australia’s Kelly Wren as a major rival before the pair meet again in Paris, France, for the 2018 INAS European Championships Games.
The competition will also double as the 2018 International Federation for Athletes with Intellectual Impairments (INAS) Tennis World Championships between 14-22 July.
The passionate tennis star won gold at the last INAS Tennis World Championships in Bolton, Great Britain, retaining her title over Wren. She also bagged two silver medals in the doubles with partners Lies Gielis and Jochen Fens.
“I think every player will perform at their level best, so everybody could be a real challenge! Last year and the year before, Kelly was the most difficult player to win from in the singles,” Lavreysen said. “In the doubles, it was very exciting to play against Archie [Graham, from Australia], because he is also the reigning world champion and plays very well.
“I am training very hard so hopefully my own level will be good enough to win again in the singles. The other team members of the Belgium team are also training hard, and they are a real team.”
Lavreysen has played tennis since the age of three with her brother. However, she could not train in a group, because her epilepsy was not under control. It was at the age of nine she finally started training with other children.
The club where she trains is a very important part of Lavreysen’s life. She feels her confidence level has increased playing the sport, especially since she combines able-bodied competitions with tournaments for people with an intellectual impairment on national, and international level.
Lavreysen points out the benefits: “It is superb that I get to visit and play in different countries; competing against players from the other side of the world is a great opportunity, as is promoting sports for people with mental disability.”
About the 2018 INAS European Championships Games
The 2018 INAS European Championships Games, organised by INAS Europe, will feature the INAS Tennis and Cycling World Championships. Seven other regional competitions will take place in other sports