Emilio is an inspirational and courageous boy, and was also one of the stars of our 2019 Christmas Appeal! Read more about his story below...
Emilio found his love for tennis at a British Blind Sport 'Have a Go Day' in Cambridge – before that, he stayed away from sport as he didn’t find anything accessible or inclusive.
This Have a Go Day was the start of a wonderful journey for Emilio. He was able to try tennis, goalball, cricket, guide running and more – as soon as he picked up the racket a change was visible in Emilio. His smile said it all!
After that day, he went on to be coached in tennis by one of the Have a Go Day coaches, until Emilio and his family relocated.
Emilio continues to play tennis at Widnes Tennis Academy under a new coach, Bez. Although Bez isn’t trained in the world of VI Tennis, he has done all he can to help Emilio progress and continue to play! Bez ordered in the audible tennis balls and ensured he was up to speed with the rules of VI Tennis so that Emilio could continue to enjoy his sport and be included in a club. The next step is to find a VI competition or another opponent for Emilio to play against, which will really help with further progression in his ability and competitiveness.
Seeing Emilio on the tennis court is enough to spark joy in any spectator. When he smashes the ball past his coach, the joy is evident in his smile. Emilio recently played against Chris Bailey who said he has a natural talent and is definitely one to watch! This has given Emilio hope and confidence that he can achieve something great in the future.
If Emilio hadn’t attended the Have a Go day event in Cambridge, Emilio’s mother feels he would not be enjoying sport as he does and instead would be sat indoors, inactive, on his iPad. It gave him the confidence to try sports at his own pace, at a rate he feels comfortable with and enjoys.
When he isn’t playing tennis, Emilio loves to play golf and can hit a ball with a beautiful swing! He is coached locally by a dedicated coach called Declan who, although he hasn’t had training in VI golf, is teaching him the basic skills and with some excellent communication between coach and student they are managing just fine!
Sport is incredibly important for Emilio as his brother and sister are both very sporty and he wanted to find his activities to enjoy and succeed in – and now he has.
Emilio’s story will be used to help encourage other blind and partially sighted people to find out about their local, visual impairment friendly sports clubs and organisations and to take that step towards a more active lifestyle!