Wheelchair tennis supporters, local players and their counterparts from several other countries on the Continent will this weekend gather at the Polokwane Tennis Stadium for two wheelchair tennis tournaments over seven days from 27 September to 03 October 2007.
ACSA sponsored Limpopo Open, which also includes players from Zimbabwe, is an annual wheelchair tennis event which is aimed at attracting new players to the sport while enabling those who are already in the game to improve their rankings. The tournament will be immediately followed by the Silver Fund Cup for Africa tournament which is also sponsored by ACSA jointly with the Johann Cruyff Foundation.
The Silver Fund Cup, starting from 1st to 3rd October 2007, is an invitational event where the top two in both female and male categories as well as the best junior players from Morocco, Tanzania, Nigeria, Gabon and South Africa will compete for the wild card entry to the Beijing Paralympics 2008.
Local top ranked male and female players Sydwell Mathosi and Kgothatso Montjane will be participating in this highly competitive event. Mathosi, who hails from Xikundu, Giyani in Limpopo Province and only started playing 18 months ago, has climbed very quickly up the world rankings.
Montjane is only 21 but has six accolades and an unbeaten record for the past two years in South Africa behind her name. She has now established a formidable presence on the international circuit.
“Sydwell, and Kgothatso’s sterling performances on the tennis court are proof of how the human spirit can thrive over adversity. They are on top of their game at the moment and they have achieved this with little access to sporting facilities,” says Mr Holger Losch, Director of Wheelchair Tennis South Africa.
Losch says wheelchair tennis is one of the fastest growing disabled sports in the world and tournaments of this calibre in South Africa enable us to raise the profile of the sport and encourage younger players, especially those with disabilities, to take an interest in the game.
Says ACSA Managing Director Monhla Hlahla: “Wheelchair tennis as a sport in our country is gaining momentum and gradually occupying a prominent position on the sports calendar.
“We are committed to providing resources that are aimed at enabling people with physical disabilities to partake in the sport. This not only improves their self-esteem but ignites a sense of purpose and brings meaning other their lives.”
Hlahla encouraged more disabled people, young and old, to see this as a motivation to participate in sports and other social activities. To date, ACSA has invested R2.9 million in the sport and remains a committed sponsor in the build up to the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.