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Lily Mills to compete in Australian Open tennis championship UK News

Tennis star Lily Mills was given the cash by Islington Council after qualifying for the grand slam tournament’s ‘Persons with Intellectual Impairments’ championships.

The 23-year-old athlete, who trains at the Islington tennis centre in Holloway, is one of eight contenders in the women’s three-day championships at Melbourne, starting on January 26.

Lily was diagnosed as a baby with meningitis and septicaemia, as well as the rare condition galactosemia, which occurs in just one in 45,000 people.

These early complications left her with cognitive impairments such as learning disabilities, short-term memory loss, poor coordination and a tremor.

But her passion for tennis overcame co-ordination problems, having first picked up a tennis racket when she was just five.

She has since amassed trophies and medals at regional, national and international levels.

So the council decided to support her fundraiser when they heard her story and agreed to help pay for the trip for the Australian championships.

“This has made Lily’s dream a reality,” her mother Tallulah Bayley said. “The opportunity means the world to her. We are overjoyed to be heading to Melbourne and are grateful to the tennis community which has rallied round Lily to make this possible.”

Lily’s dedication is seen by the local authority as sport being used to promote inclusivity in line with its own leisure department’s mission, so it has picked up the tabs to support Lily on her “remarkable journey”.

Cllr Nurullah Turan, executive member for social care on Islington Council, said: “Lily’s journey stands as a symbol of inclusivity in sports.

“We were inspired by her commitment to tennis when we heard her story as we are determined to create a more equal society where everyone can enjoy the mental, physical and social benefits of staying active.”

The ‘All Abilities’ championships recognise those with disabilities such as vision, hearing, mobility, sensory and intellectual to take part in the Australian Open in a secure environment. They share the same hallowed courts with starts like Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Naomi Osaka and Angelique Kerber.

Some 40 players from 14 countries competed at the first event last year alongside the world’s top players in the Australian Open Grand Slam.

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This notice was published: 2024-01-20 07:00:00

By Times Series

Times Series, The News from the London borough of Barnet, and Borehamwood & Elstree.

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