Wimbledon Champions Gordon Reid, Alfie Hewett and Jordanne Whiley have shown their support towards the Tennis Foundation’s new talent ID programme Push2Podium.
The program was launched this weekend at the British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships. Reid, Hewett and Whiley all hope the programme will encourage and inspire more disabled people to play wheelchair tennis, and in turn find the next generation of Paralympians.
The programme, which builds on the former initiative Ticket2Tokyo, will consist of eight free wheelchair tennis festivals across the country. Anyone interested in the sport are encouraged to attend and give it a go. Tennis Foundation Talent ID coaches will be present at these festivals and the players who show potential will be chosen to go forward to selection camps.
From the selection camps players will be chosen for the Tennis Foundation’s Performance Selection Squad where players will be invited to attend training camps with world class coaches as well as receiving support and guidance throughout the year and a grant towards any travel costs. Everyone who attends a camp will be directed to their nearest wheelchair tennis session so they can continue playing the game at the level most suitable for them.
“I’m delighted to support the new Push2Podium talent ID programme. I said at Wimbledon before the tournament that one of my aims was to inspire disabled people and particularly children to get active and realise that tennis can be a sport they really enjoy.
“This programme is a great way for people to get involved in tennis and then talented individuals can receive the support they need to make it to the top of the game. I’d encourage everyone who is tempted to get along to one of the festivals to try out the sport; I’ve travelled the world thanks to wheelchair tennis and made some lifelong friends and memories so I would recommend it to everyone.”
“The Tennis Foundation has provided invaluable support to me throughout my career from just starting out in the game through as a junior to becoming Wimbledon doubles champion and heading to Rio soon. Wheelchair tennis is a fantastic, growing sport and I would recommend everyone who wants to try it to get down to a Push2Podium camp as you never know where it could take you.”
The Push2Podium festivals will take place during on the 18, 24 and 25 of September, with festivals taking place in London, Taunton, Loughborough, Preston, Ipswich, Portsmouth, Scotsotun and Newport . For more information please visit the Tennis Foundation website at www.tennisfoundation.org.uk/play-tennis/physically-impaired-tennis/push2podium/.