A LEAMINGTON schoolgirl was youngest member of Great Britain’s padel tennis side who finished sixth overall at the World Championships held in Mexico last month in Mexico.
Tia Norton, from Whitnash, represented GB’s Under-14 side at the tender age of just 12 at the prestigious tournament, which was held between November 16-21 in Mexico City.
The Under-14s beat the USA three times and also got the better of host Mexico and Paraguay but they lost out to Brazil in a thrilling match that finished 7-5 in a third set thriller.
Tia progressed through the competition with her partner from Spain, Zuzka Patacho from Spain, who she partnered at the World Cup and who qualifies for GB through her mother who is from the UK.
The GB pair reached the quarter-finals of the event and the three teams (U14, U16 and U18) together achieved a sixth-place finish, while the boys team finished third to take bronze.
“To be asked to represent your country at a World Cup is the ultimate in any sport,” said Tia’s father Jonathan.
“As parents and seeing your 12-year-old daughter leading their country out in the opening ceremony, waving the Union Jack just doesn’t get any better.
“We’re immensely proud and honoured to have seen her compete and grow in strength and character this last week.”
Padel tennis is one of the fastest growing sports in Europe and is very similar to tennis in that it is played in doubles but on a court one-third the size of a standard tennis court.
The sports was invented in Mexico back in 1969 and allows players to play balls off the walls using smaller un-stringed rackets.
Tia has only been playing Padel tennis for just 3 months but she was invited to GB trials back in September in Birmingham GB’s junior head coach Matt Thomas, who then asked to compete at the World Cup four weeks ago.