Gainesville Pickleball Classic draws over one hundred competitors with proceeds going to charity
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - The first Gainesville Pickleball Classic tournament drew hundreds of pickleball players to Gainesville over the weekend with over $4000 in proceeds going to charity.
The tournament was held at the 300 Club located at 3715 NW 12th Ave in Gainesville on Saturday and Sunday. Over 120 competitors came out from as far as Georgia and South Carolina to play pickleball across eight pickleball courts that were converted from tennis courts. They ranged in age from 16- to 78-years old. Around half of the field of singles and mixed doubles players were Gainesville residents.
Pickleball, which is described as a mix of tennis and ping pong, is one of the largest growing sports in the world. Its exchange of skill in the place of speed and stamina draws a lot of former tennis players to the pickleball court.
Collin Ulmer, the Executive Director of the Gainesville Pickleball Classic, says the sport is a great way to get out and play even during the pandemic.
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“I think it’s great for Gainesville. We’re coming out of the COVID wave, I know I’ve been vaccinated a lot of these guys have been vaccinated. They want to come out here and play a sport and it’s a great social distancing sport, its a great sport for anybody to learn and we want it to grow in the communities,” said Ulmer.
The money made during registration is being given to the 2021 Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
Ulmer says he hopes to have a meeting with Gainesville mayor Lauren Poe about the possibility of expanding the sport in the city. Ulmer believes that starts with the expansion of public Pickleball courts in the city.
Pickleball matches are played almost every day in Gainesville, for a list of places to play and when to meet visit the Gainesville pickleball website.
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