FIP delivers seniors Euro boost
GB Women’s Seniors Manager Sally Fisher believes the inaugural International Padel Federation (FIP) Senior European Championships will create a pivotal piece of padel infrastructure for the age group game. RJ Mitchell reports
The confirmation that FIP will stage the inaugural event at the Ciudad Deportiva Camilo Cano sports complex in La Nucia, Alicante, from June 12-17th followed a GB senior ladies’ squad selection event in Derby. Now Sally is looking forward to the first ever Senior European Championships, in no doubt that it could have a significant impact on the growth of the senior game both on the continent and in the UK.
Sally, the co-organiser and creator of the recent Women’s Seniors Nations Cup held successfully in Amsterdam, said: “I am absolutely delighted that FIP has announced the Seniors event, which is 40 yrs+ plus, 45+ and 50+, and even more so with the additional Super Seniors for both the men and the women of 60yrs+, 55+ and 50+. There’s a lot that is very new for the women with the extra categories at 55+ and 60+ and for the men 60+.”
She is particularly excited that the tournament will be split into the Seniors and Super Seniors championships: “There will be two teams of 50 which is wonderful as it creates all the more opportunity for new senior players to be involved,” she said. “This is what we had been aiming for but we never knew when FIP would do it, or even the structure of the teams they would implement. We are just delighted as it is giving so many opportunities for so many more to play.”
Age is not a limitation but an opportunity.
In April the GB senior ladies squad met at We Are Padel, Derby, to assess talent. Sally was wowed at the new players who attended: “We had 28 new players who came to be observed and assessed by Nigel Garton, our head coach, who has continued to give us amazing support,” she said.
“We also had squad coaches Libby Fletcher, Jo Ward, Dawn Foxhall and Helen Crook all helping with coaching on court and playing with individuals to help with assessment perspective and supporting Nigel with his selection decisions.
“We saw some great new talent and the standard of play from the year previously, when we ran our first ever open training session which was in Harrogate in June, has improved so much.
“Roy Staniland, the LTA’s new Steering Committee member for all seniors padel, drove three hours to come and see what it was all about – a massive thanks to him for his commitment. Also many thanks to Matt Stanforth, the new LTA Head Of Performance, who acted as independent chair of selection for our selection panel meeting. It was the first time we put into action the new LTA selection criteria for all seniors players. It is transparent, open and fair and perfect for the job.”
“Selection now is for the European Championship team. For players who missed out (on the Derby selection weekend) we have a match with Jersey and Guernsey with a 55+ England team going out to Jersey in June and another team will be playing a club team from Holland. So we have created opportunities for those who weren’t selected but are in the squad and there will also be further training opportunities.
“All of that has undoubtedly been given extra impetus by FIP’s announcement and I am sure the Senior European Championships will become an integral and hugely important piece of the landscape in the senior game going forward – and just what we needed,” concluded Sally. 🎾