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APRIL 19 2009

Whilst Manchester United and Everton entertained the crowds at Wembley on Sunday afternoon sports fans in Salisbury were treated to their own slice of skill and dexterity as Louise Hunt, the World Number 3 Junior wheelchair tennis player, put on an exhibition at Riverside Tennis Club. Louise arrived in Saliisbury along with her coach Ali Ward to demonstrate the sport to wheelchair users from the district as part of a community project initiated by the club.

Louise and Ali spent 2 hours on court and provided an exciting and inspirational glimpse to both able bodied and wheelchair users of the potential and ability that exists within the sport. Using high tech sports wheelchairs guests on the day were able to experience for themselves the opportunities available in the knowledge that the club intends to fully establish wheelchair tennis within the district. Guests benefitted from individual coaching and use of the sports chairs and were able to enquire about all aspects of the game, its structure and its opportunities.

Ant, our club chairman, commented that the initiative to develop and establish wheelchair tennis within the Salisbury and district area is a challenging project but that the attitude and ability demonstrated by Louise and its impact on the wheelchair users who attended the event had been extremely rewarding. He endorsed the clubs ongoing commitment and commented that the project should not be seen as a specific club initiative but more a community project with a view to providing a facility that would enable individuals to explore their potential and to enhance their daily routines.

Both of the Riverside club coaches, Jason and Carolyn, who were actively involved with the afternoon's activities commented upon the success of the day, the value of having a top tennis player and her coach in attendance and how quickly the invited guests had improved under the guidance and advice of Louise and Ali. They were also quick to point out that the session was run free of charge and that the original grant that enabled the event to take place would enable some further coaching and advice to be offered at no cost to the individual. Carolyn is now actively trying to obtain sports wheelchairs for use at the club by wheelchair users interested in trying out the sport but who weren't able to attend on the day. Carolyn is very keen to hear from anyone who would like to discuss or participate in wheelchair tennis and can be contacted on 01722 510557 if you wish to engage in what is hoped to be a significant development in disabled sports within the area.