South Africa’s Patrick Selepe wins inaugural UINQLO Spirit Award
UNIQLO and the International Tennis Foundation announced on Sunday that former South African wheelchair tennis player Patrick Selepe is the inaugural winner of the UNIQLO Spirit Award.
Patrick Selepe was announced as the winner by Evelien Van Campnhout, Brand Marketing Manager UNIQLO Belgium, during the brunch on the last day of the 2017 UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters in Bemmel, Netherlands.
The UNIQLO Spirit Award is awarded annually to a wheelchair tennis player who embodies the principles and core values of UNIQLO and Fast Retailing Group by seeking to challenge and change the world around them by challenging themselves and striving for the highest standards imaginable, pursuing their goals with an innovative spirit and a shared desire to see wheelchair tennis continually moving forward to ever greater heights.
Nominations based on these criteria considered players from the grassroots of the sport up to those competing at the elite levels of the game.
A judging panel, comprised of ITF Wheelchair Tennis Committee members and ITF Head of Wheelchair Tennis Alistair Williams created a shortlist of nominations, with UNIQLO invited to choose a winner and runner-up.
Selepe, who receives US$ 5.000 as the inaugural winner of the UNIQLO Sprit Award, was recognized and commended for his commitment to all aspects of wheelchair tennis over a period of 10 years, as a competitive player and as an official, becoming the first disabled person to attain the White Badge officiating qualification.
At the same time, he has worked tirelessly and shown immense and selfless devotion to the development of the sport in South Africa, playing a major role in overseeing the activities of a wheelchair tennis development programme that serves more than centres and over 500 players,
“It is a great honour to be the first winner of the UNIQLO Spirit Award, this is huge for me”, said Selepe.
“I will continue to work hard, raise awareness for people living with disabilities and continue to be a reminder to all people with disabilities that it is possible.
“Thank you to International Tennis Federation (ITF) and UNIQLO for this great recognition, not forgetting Wheelchair Tennis South Africa who offered me a life-changing opportunity”, added Selepe.