WHITE BADGE HOLDER PATRICK SELEPE TO OFFICIATE AT WIMBLEDON
Wheelchair Tennis South Africa (WTSA) Development Manager Patrick Selepe has been selected as a Line Umpire for the Wimbledon Qualifying event to be staged at the Bank of England Sports Ground, Bank Lane in London from 20-24 June 2016. Selepe will also be a Chair Umpire for the 18 & Under International Tennis Federation (ITF) Junior tournament from 26 June to 1 July 2016.
Selepe who recently retired from the sport as a player and obtained a white badge in November last year admits he is very pumped up for his first major in London.
“I feel I am living a dream, it’s an indescribable feeling going to be part of the officiating team at Wimbledon,” Selepe said. “This is something big, it’s a challenge and my first major since I got my white badge last year.”
Fitted with a prosthetic leg after his left leg had to be amputated due to bone cancer, the 40-year-old former wheelchair tennis player from Limpopo was tasked to oversee unearthing of the country’s future stars since the inception of Wheelchair Tennis South Africa in 2005. Selepe continues to be an inspirational figure for those in his native in the country and abroad and always believed he can do more.
“I am always eager to learn and since taking up the sport 10 years ago, I saw an opportunity to learn and do more. I have found and worked closely with most of the current top players including the two-time Grand Slam winner Lucas Sithole, the women’s country number one Kgothatso Montjane, Evans Maripa and many more,” said Selepe.
“The players’ success has kept me going and working hard – I then realized that I can develop myself then worked on getting the badge which today has opened doors for me,” added Selepe.
Since obtaining the white badge, Selepe has been invited to officiate at the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Futures in Stellenbosch, African Championships qualifying and main event in Pretoria as a chair umpire to gain more experience.
Selepe thanked Wheelchair Tennis SA and Tennis South Africa for trusting and granting him the opportunity to obtain the white badge, “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t of the support and encouragement from WTSA who believed in me from day one when I joined the federation. They have supported me greatly together with Tennis South Africa who selected me as the only disabled official to pursue a career in officiating”.
Wheelchair Tennis South Africa and Airports Company South Africa Partnership:
The Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) is the official sponsor of Wheelchair Tennis South Africa and the sport of wheelchair tennis. Airports Company South Africa has contributed no less than R36-million to date and has committed to a continued investment in the sport as its flagship Corporate Social Investment programme.