LTA host wheelchair tennis taster day for players inspired by Brit medal wins in Tokyo
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Budding wheelchair sportspeople inspired by the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics were given the chance to show off their tennis skills at a special try-out day at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on Sunday 29 August.
Organised by the LTA, the event at the east London venue on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, included activities to cater for every skill level, and forms part of a nationwide series of taster days designed to attract, inspire and engage people with physical impairments into wheelchair tennis. The sessions were delivered by coaches from the LTA.
The event took place as Britain’s wheelchair tennis players clinched four medals in Tokyo, with Jordanne Whiley claiming women’s singles bronze and doubles silver alongside Lucy Shuker, and Gordon Reid claiming men’s singles bronze and doubles silver alongside Alfie Hewett.
Saturday’s event was the second of seven taster days which form part of the LTA Wheelchair Tennis Initiative. The events are delivered by experienced LTA Performance Wheelchair Tennis coaches, who help equip participants with new qualities, skills and attributes required for tennis.
Following each event, the LTA direct each participant towards opportunities to continue playing that are most appropriate for their skill level. These could be local venues offering recreational wheelchair tennis activity through the LTA Open Court programme, or centres delivering elite training as part of the LTA Wheelchair Performance Pathway.
All equipment, including sports wheelchairs to participate, tennis rackets and balls are provided on the days.
The remaining LTA Wheelchair Tennis Initiative days are:
- Sunday 26 September, Bolton Arena - Bolton
- Saturday 9 October, Colwyn Bay Tennis Centre - Wales
- Sunday 10 October, Swansea Tennis Centre - Wales
- Sunday 17 October, White Horse Leisure & Tennis Centre - Abingdon
What they said...
Matt Grover, LTA Wheelchair Performance Pathway Manager, said: “It was a fantastic event at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre and it was great to meet so many young people who have been inspired to pick up rackets – and of course our players’ performances in Tokyo are an added bonus for us in terms of showing what is possible. The exciting thing about these events is that there are options for everyone to carry on playing and enjoying tennis once they’ve had a go for the first time – whether they just want to continue playing casually and meet new people through our Open Court programme, or they show potential to develop into elite players. Wheelchair tennis is easily adaptable from the non-wheelchair version of the game, and is great for physical and mental health, so I’d encourage anyone with an interest to come and have a go.”
Jack Pringle, Lee Valley Regional Park Authority Sport & Active Recreation Manager, said: “Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre was the only brand new venue built for the Paralympic Games in London, hosting wheelchair tennis back in 2012, and the rich heritage in this thrilling sport runs through our veins. We hope that Paralympics GB’s stellar achievements in Tokyo inspire more and more people to take up and enjoy in this fantastic sport. We’re proud to be part of this initiative and run regular wheelchair tennis sessions every week.”
The LTA Wheelchair Talent Initiative is made possible thanks to the governing body’s collaboration with The National Lottery, which is the official partner of the LTA Wheelchair Performance Pathway. As part of the partnership, The National Lottery provides crucial support to the current elite level of the sport as they prepare for Tokyo 2020 and also look to encourage more juniors, men, women and quads to pick up a racket for the first time, feeding into one of the most successful disability sport programmes in the UK.
To sign up for an LTA Wheelchair Tennis Initiative taster day, click here to complete the registration form.