WHEELCHAIR TENNIS SA PAY TRIBUTE TO THE HEROISM OF KWAZULU-NATAL STARS
June is celebrated as youth month in South Africa and Wheelchair Tennis SA (WTSA) pay tribute to the athletes who despite of their disability became an inspirational figure to those in their native and the entire world.
When Lucas Sithole, the two-time Grand Slam champion took up wheelchair tennis in 2006 following a tragic train accident 18 years ago proved to the world that nothing is impossible. The KwaZulu-Natal star dominated the quad division and today ranked number three in the world with no legs and one arm but Sithole has always assumed a positive attitude to life.
The Newcastle ace, who turns 30 in September, saw his name go onto the wheelchair tennis history walls when he became the first African to win a Quad singles Grand Slam title at the US Open in 2013. Sithole and partner David Wagner from America emerged victorious at the Australian Open early this year to claim the top spot in the quad doubles final to record his second Grand Slam title.
Sithole now has his eyes on Rio Paralympics, with the hope to earn himself and the country a gold medal.
The 29-year-old is an idol to many but the country’s top junior Alwande Skhosana perceives him as more than an icon. The diminutive lad from Harding in Kwazulu-Natal at just 15-years-old has shown signs of a champion. The junior world number three in the boy’s division represented the country at the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Cruyff Foundation Junior Masters in February this year in France and enjoyed international challenge when he participated in a three-week-tour in Sri Lanka and fired a salvo to all at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup last month.
Among the two stars is world number two junior Nokwanda Hlongwane who was recently named the LSEN School Female Athlete of the year at the 2015/16 Gauteng School Sport Awards. The 15-year-old who hails from Bergville in Kwa-Zulu Natal went on a three-week-tour to Sri Lanka with Skhosana which she uttered was the highlight of her career. With only five years in the sport Hlongwane’s talent was honored when nominated at the top flight South African Sports Awards last year as the Newcomer of the Year.
“We are very excited to celebrate the outstanding performance of our athletes at national and international level during the youth month. We pay tribute this month to these athletes who are at the present peak of their careers for aspiring to even greater heights, we also recognize the generous sponsorship from Airports Company South Africa which made all this possible,” said Wheelchair Tennis South Africa General Manager Karen Losch.
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.