People living with disabilities gathered at Mandela Park Stadium in Khayelitsha on the weekend to try their hand in wheelchair tennis. The sport of wheelchair tennis is growing in South Africa. Lucas Sithole is ranked second in the world. Khayelitsha has Meyenzeke Gwija, ranked fifth in South Africa.
Khayelitsha Wheelchair Tennis Club (KWTC) hosts tennis camps to try and get people living with disabilities active and to introduce the sport to them. Young and old, male and female, braved the wet weather and came to support.
KWTC chairperson NomaIndia Zenzile said, “I noticed that there are no sports activities for people with disabilities in our townships. We then decided to introduce wheelchair tennis for socialising and stop the stigma that disabled people must stay at home. People are very keen to join and so we decided to involve the whole metro not just Khayelitsha people only.”
Peter Sampson from Elsies River said, “I used to play wheelchair basketball and do some racing. I decided to come and see what wheelchair tennis is all about, because I always watch it on TV. I’m enjoying it so far.”
Selina Nqanqaru from Crossroads said, “I’ve never played any sports before, because we don’t have any activities where I live. When I heard of the camp I decided to come. There’s been a lot of wheelchair tennis on TV which is what sparked my interest in the sport.”
The lack of sports clubs and facilities for people with disabilities is one problem another big problem is the transport to events.
Sampson said, “Taxis don’t stop for you if you’re in a wheelchair.”
Nqanqaru said, “If Khayelitsha can have a club, I don’t see why we can’t have one in Crossroads. It is just that people living with disabilities are kept indoors and those that are free to do what they want wait for things to be done for them instead of geting out there.”
Source : GroundUp