Ipswich Town players grab a tennis racket to celebrate club’s partnership with Elena Baltacha foundation
PUBLISHED: 17:08 22 February 2018 | UPDATED: 09:45 23 February 2018
Ipswich Town players Martyn Waghorn and Luke Hyam swapped the pitch for the tennis court yesterday to celebrate the club’s new partnership with the Elena Baltacha Foundation.
The Town stars paid a visit to children at Sidegate Community Primary School, playing a few games with the enthusiastic youngsters.
And it was a extra special occasion for Luke, who went to the school himself as a child.
Nino Severino, Elena Baltacha’s husband and chairman of the foundation, said it was great experience for the children
“The event was an Elena Baltacha Foundation Roadshow where we promote tennis through the local schools,” he said.
“It was also an opportunity to celebrate our new relationship between Ipswich Town Football Club and the foundation.
“To celebrate we had Martyn Waghorn there and his lovely wife Leoni and Luke Hyam which was nice because it is was his old primary school.
“It was a great experience for the children.”
The club and the Baltacha family have a rich history together.
Elena’s father Sergei signed for the club in 1988, becoming the first player from the Soviet Union to play in the English football league.
Ipswich become Elena’s home and she went on to become the long-term British tennis number one.
She passed away on May 2014.
Mr Severino said his wife’s energy carries on through the foundation’s work.
He said: “Hopefully the children will fall in love with tennis and take it up on a recreational level.
“They may even place themselves in the running to be a tennis player of the future.
“The foundation is eager to help children to have a healthy lifestyle through sport.
“It always has been.
“Of course for us it is also about keeping my wife’s memory alive and to remember what a wonderful lady she was.
“Through this personal tragedy we find lots and lots of children smiling and individuals like the Waghorns becoming part of our foundation family.
“Elena’s energy carries on.
“If course it was a tragedy, a horrible thing to happen, but she left us all with so much.”
For more information about the Elena Baltacha Foundation visit www.elenabaltachafoundation.org