Tennis | Elena Baltacha Foundation
The Elena Baltacha Academy
- 7.25% funded
- £ 725.00 pledged
The Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis
The Olympian, Elena Baltacha-Severino, is a British tennis icon who proved that even against all the odd’s and adversity great things can be achieved.
At the age of 19 Elena was diagnosed with a serious liver condition called Primary Sclerosis Cholangitis, which ultimately would lead to liver cancer that took her life on May 4th 2014.
Elena fought her way to the top of world tennis, joining the Elite WTA Top 50. During her professional career she competed in some of the biggest arena’s in the world, against some of the best players in the world , such as Maria Sharapova, Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters – all multi Grand Slam winners – achieving 3 top 10 wins in her greatest year, one of them against a reigning Grand Slam Champion.
Bally, as she is affectionately known, decided that she wanted to make a difference and personally invest in a programme that attracted more children into tennis, regardless of ethnic background, where they lived or how much money their families earned.
The most incredible part of this story is that she personally developed the Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis while she was still travelling around the globe as a professional tennis player competing on the World Tour. This is quite a phenomenal challenge to take on.
Her husband, Nino Severino, recalls: “Bally just wanted to get off the plane, drive home and visit the next schools where she could inspire more children to play tennis, her drive and commitment is still a huge source of pride for me.”
Elena Baltacha’s legacy lives on through the people who loved and adored her, and through those who followed her lead while she spent 4 years building the reputation of her work.
EBAT has developed one of the biggest school links networks in Great Britain. It has introduced tennis to thousands and thousands of children, many of whom have committed fully to tennis, with many of these children enjoying the sport on a fun and recreational basis.
Others have taken a more serious approach, and Bally’s time here on earth is paying off with players making county, regional and National level, and our first player, who Bally found in a deprived school 4 years ago, recently getting her international badge and now competing for Great Britain!
The Elena Baltacha Foundation lead by Nino Severino, Chairman, and Paul Regan (OCO) overlooks and manages the EBAT programme based in Ipswich, their main focus is to continue Bally’s vision, which is breaking down barriers that stop children playing tennis.
How the Elena Baltacha Academy for Tennis breaks down barriers for children
The Elena Baltacha Academy of Tennis’s biggest success is the fact that our schools outreach programme builds strong relationships with all schools, those in deprived areas as well as affluent ones.
Once they join our academy, based at Ipswich Sports Club and Ipswich School Sports Centre in Rushmere, we do not charge large upfront costs which often can be the hurdles that prevent children from joining tennis.
Our schedule over the last 18 months has broken all our records; this is a great legacy for Bally, reflecting her vision and the plans she left for her team to follow:
- Number of schools visited 18
- Number of classes coached 259
- Number of pupils seen 7880
Every pupil we see during the school’s EBAT Road Show is offered the opportunity to experience a free 3-week tennis programme at our academy. All these pupils are then offered a long-term tennis programme which gives every child a low cost opportunity to join our wonderful sport of tennis.
EBAT is very proud of the players it introduces to competitive tennis, we do not operate under the easiest of conditions, as we do not have our own indoor facility and much of our programme is run on outside courts.
This has not stopped us: We are currently No.1 in Ipswich, ahead of the two multi-million pound indoor facilities located in the same town.
This is a reflection of Bally’s fighting spirit; no matter how difficult the conditions, the hardships and adversity our players endure, we teach them to have the fighting heart of Bally.
If that is something you think you could support, please take a look at our rewards programme on this page.
Let’s honour Elena Baltacha’s legacy together!