Pickleball pilgrimage a boost for the city

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Over 200 players have registered for the first ever Warrnambool Pickleball Open, with the majority travelling to the city especially for the event.

The Open will be held at the Warrnambool Stadium from February 24-25.

For those unfamiliar with the game, it’s one of the fastest growing sports in Australia, with Pickleball Victoria President and Warrnambool Pickleball Open Tournament Director Mark Taylor describing it as “a mixture of tennis, badminton and table tennis.”

“It’s played on a badminton size court, the net is slightly lower than a tennis net and we play with a hard bat and a plastic ball with holes in it,” he said.

“We are over the moon with the number of people coming.

“We’re getting a lot of tennis players cross over to pickleball at the moment but it’s a game for everyone. 

“So don’t just come down and have a look. Find out how you can play after the tournament’s finished.”

Warrnambool Mayor Ben Blain said that he was looking forward to a successful event this weekend. 

“It’s such a fast, fun and accessible sport, so I’m really excited to see Warrnambool host such a large pickleball tournament,” he said.

“It’s a real testament to the local club and how welcoming and friendly they are, which has not only helped them to grow their own numbers, it’s allowed them to build the relationships with other clubs to encourage so many players to come to Warrnambool.

“We were able to support Warrnambool City Pickleball with some funding via our Festivals and Events Grants, and it’s events like this that we really want to see grow and thrive.

“With over 200 people expected to travel to Warrnambool for the weekend, that’s a real boost for the local economy. The period between Australia Day and the Labour Day long weekend can be a little bit quieter, so to be able to bring so many people into Warrnambool during an off-peak time is really important

“The draft Warrnambool Events Strategy takes a look at how we can support the growth of events in our city over the next four years. It’s out for public consultation until March 6, so I’d encourage everyone to read the draft strategy and share their feedback at www.yoursaywarrnambool.com.au

The tournament will run from 8.30am until approximately 6pm on both days, with free entry for spectators.