Wheelchair Tennis players ace selection for ParalympicsGB
Ten of Britain’s top Wheelchair Tennis players are celebrating their selection to ParalympicsGB, as the British Paralympic Association (BPA) confirmed the ten athletes who will compete at Eton Manor at the Olympic Park in just over 70 days time.
The Wheelchair Tennis team is headed by the ‘Quadfather’ Peter Norfolk, the current world number 2 in the quad division and winner of two consecutive singles gold medals from Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.
“I am so excited to compete in my third Paralympic Games”, said Norfolk of his selection. “I have worked incredibly hard over the years and competing at the Paralympics always makes the previous four years of training, travelling and sacrifices feel worthwhile.”
He added: “At a home Games, there will be a lot of pressure on us to perform to our best, but the home support should boost us and if we can play to the crowd then we can be successful.”
Also competing in the quad events will be world number 4 Andy Lapthorne and former Marine Jamie Burdekin, who won bronze alongside Norfolk in the quad doubles in Beijing .
Commenting on today’s announcement, Burdekin said: “I am honoured with the news that I have been selected to represent my country at London 2012. I haven’t rested on my laurels; every tournament in the run-up to selection was important to me. To be confirmed as part of this elite squad of athletes represents a massive achievement for me.”
In the men’s events, selected athletes are Gordon Reid, Marc McCarroll, David Phillipson and Alex Jewitt.
Reid, who made his Games debut in Beijing , commented: “I am overwhelmed by the news. It has been a hard few years with so many hours of training but everything has been worthwhile if I get to pull on a ParalympicsGB shirt and represent my country on the biggest stage possible.”
In the women’s singles events, Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whiley return to the team to make their second Games appearance, while Louise Hunt will make her Games debut in London .
For Whiley Paralympic competition is in her genes: her father also competed for Britain at the Paralympic Games in New York in 1984, winning a bronze medal on the track.
She said: “I was so happy to be selected. I started preparing for London as soon as I finished competing in Beijing , and it has always been my main goal. Therefore, to hear that I have been selected for the home Games has really made my day.
“I think London 2012 will be different from my experiences in Beijing , but in a good way. There will certainly be expectation and pressure, but I know everyone will be backing us and I think it will be incredible.”
Craig Hunter, Chef de Mission for ParalympicsGB, added his congratulations saying: “Wheelchair Tennis, like its Olympic counterpart, has one of the most intense international competition circuits of any Paralympic sport and these players spend weeks at a time abroad, training and competing in order to get themselves into the best possible shape both physically and tactically. These players give up so much in their lives and sacrifice so much in order to dedicate themselves to their sport, and so it is a great honour to be able to reward all their hard work by confirming their selection to ParalympicsGB today.
“It is one of the most exciting Paralympic sports on the programme and so I can’t wait to go and see and support these players when they compete at London 2012”, he added.
Wheelchair Tennis Team Leader Paul Regan was also delighted, saying “We are pleased to announce our 10 athletes for the London 2012 Paralympic Games, all of whom have qualified on merit and due to the hard work, dedication and commitment they have shown within this cycle. This hard work will continue through the final stages of preparation, when we hope to make the British public proud of our involvement and achievements in what will surely be the biggest sporting spectacle that we will ever be involved in.”
Following selection one of the next stages on the road to London 2012 for the athletes is the delivery of their kit. UPS will be supporting ParalympicsGB by coordinating the delivery of London 2012 team kits to Paralympic athletes across the UK . In this extensive logistical operation UPS will be warehousing, packing and delivering over 27,000 items to 300 Paralympic athletes at training locations up and down the country. Then ahead of the team's arrival to the Paralympic Village , UPS will collect all the kit and deliver it to each athlete's room ensuring a comfortable and easy move into the village for the home team. UPS are the Official Logistics and Express Delivery Supporter of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
The announcement brings the total number of athletes selected to ParalympicsGB to 183 plus two sighted goalkeepers.
Wheelchair Tennis players:
Gordon Reid (Born: Alexandria . Lives: Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute )
Marc McCarroll (Born: Harrow . Lives: Ickenham, Middlesex)
David Phillipson (Born: Huntingdon. Lives: Bingham, Nottinghamshire)
Alex Jewitt ( Sheffield )
Lucy Shuker (Fleet, Hampshire. Trains: Blackbrook Tennis Centre, Taunton )
Jordanne Whiley (Born: Birmingham . Lives: Halesowen, West Midlands )
Louise Hunt ( Swindon )
Peter Norfolk (Born: Middlesex. Lives: Alton , Hampshire)
Andy Lapthorne (Born: Hammersmith. Lives: Eastcote, Middlesex)
Jamie Burdekin ( Liverpool )