Paralympic dream comes true for Kendall tennis club player

Kendall Tennis Club’s International wheelchair tennis player Janel Manns has been selected as part of the Australian Tennis Team for the London Paralympics Olympics.

“The club and its members have been working with Janel to achieve this dream for the past 3 years,” saidclub president Wendy Hudson.

“As far as we know we are the only tennis club in Australia that has a wheelchair tennis player playing in able body competition. The entire club is so excited for her”

Janel will have a very heavy training schedule during the next few months with her Paralympic dream to start on the 1st September in London. “Club members will be lining up as hitting partners and given her as much match play as we can before she goes” said her coach Phil Robinson also the club’s vice president.

Janel is Australian No.2 women’s wheelchair tennis player and will partner Australian No.1 ranked player Daniela di Toro in the doubles as well as play in the singles event.

“This is a dream come true. I have wanted this for the past few years and my coach Phil Robinson along with the Kendall Tennis Club have made it possible. This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I will be putting everything I have into it.”, said Janel.

With less than 70 days to go before the Games’ opening on 29 August, the four-strong wheelchair tennis team is the 11th sport of 13 to be selected to the 2012 Australian Paralympic Team by the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC).

The other two members of the Olympic team are dual Paralympian Ben Weekes and fellow newcomer Adam Kellerman. Janel is the only player selected from a regional area.

Australia has won nine medals in wheelchair tennis at the Paralympic Games - one gold, five silver and three bronze - since it was introduced at Barcelona 1992. Australian Paralympic Committee CEO and 2012 Team Chef de Mission Jason Hellwig believes the team is capable of adding to the tally in London.

“Wheelchair tennis is one of the most exciting sports on the Paralympic program, for the players as well as the spectators, and the quality of competition is exceedingly good,” Mr Hellwig said.

“We have a good mix of experience on this team, with half heading to their first Paralympics while Ben Weekes and Dani Di Toro have remained in top form in order to have another bite at the cherry.

“Australia hasn’t won a gold medal in tennis since David Hall in Sydney and we would really love to see another gold won by an Australian.”

Janel will compete at her first Paralympic Games after trading in wheelchair basketball for tennis in 2005. She “Janel has been great in the prelude to the 2012 Games and she has definitely earned her spot,” head coach Crump said.

“She is a talented player and should make the most of her first Paralympic experience.”

Wheelchair tennis is open to athletes with a physical disability and follows the same rules as able-bodied tennis. With the sole exception that the ball is allowed to bounce twice, athletes play in singles and doubles events with the first to win two sets declared the winner.

The London 2012 Paralympic Games begin 29 August through to 9 September, 2012.