The “2015 YAK-DAN National Juniors Wheelchair Tennis Camp,” featuring children with physical disability has been held at the Kumasi Baba Yara Stadium Tennis Court.
Organised by the Ghana Wheelchair Tennis under the theme “Breaking Barriers through Wheelchair Tennis,” the one-day event turned out to be a joyous celebration of sport, personal development and new friendships for the physically disabled children drawn from the Orthopedic Training Centre in Nsawam, Garden City Special Schools in Asokore-Mampong, the Physically Challenged Action Foundation (PCAF) in Offinso and the Ghana Society for the Physically Disabled (GSPD) Social Club in Kumasi.
The kids were taught basic rudiments of the game to improve their knowledge and technical ability especially in areas such as basic strokes, grips, tactics, movements in the wheelchair as well as demonstrations and exhibition matches from professional wheelchair tennis players.
Two physically challenged children, Francis Acquah from PCAF Offinso and Gafaru Mohammed from the GSPD Social Club Kumasi were selected to represent Ghana at the prestigious ITF Johan Cruyff Africa Regional Juniors Camp in South Africa from September 28 to October 5, 2015.
The two pupils were selected from among 50 children who took part in the practical wheelchair tennis skills for children under the guidance of the head coach of the Ashanti Region Tennis Association, Joseph Acquah with support from Yayha Macauley and Andrew Taylor, National Wheelchair Tennis Coaches from Accra.
For a number of the kids, it was their first encounter with the sport and that delighted the National Coordinator of Ghana Wheelchair Tennis Henry Larbi.
The Chief Executive Officer of the YAK-DAN Group of Companies, Daniel Nii Mensah said his outfit will continue to support para sports and wheelchair tennis in particular as part of his company’s corporate social responsibility.
“We will support these children to represent Ghana and join the camp in South Africa. This will also boost the psychological aspect of these kids to do better. Other kids will be looking up to them as role models. They will have to partake in such an event and put their all into it.
“We will still continue to make this message stronger that sports is not only football. At the moment YAK-DAN Group of Companies is supporting para sports: wheelchair tennis and wheelchair racing. Not only sports, we will also try to give scholarships to children who excel in sports so that we can motivate them to know they can combine their academics with sports.
Gafaru Mohammed of the GSPD Social Club Kumasi expressed his delight at the opportunity to represent Ghana abroad.
“I feel very happy right now. I am very happy to be selected as one of the athletes who will be going to South Africa. All the appreciation goes to the almighty God. It is not by might and not be strength. I have never imagined that I will be selected or even become a tennis player.
In his closing remarks, the chairman of the Ashanti Regional Tennis Association Akwasi Agyeman Gyemidi said there are plans to organise more competitions for the various clubs in the region to make the impact of tennis felt.
He added that wheelchair tennis will be supported to reach greater heights to keep people healthy and also get some key players to join the national team.
The clinic was organised by the Ghana Wheelchair Tennis under the auspices of the Ghana Tennis Federation and the International Tennis Federation with support from the Johan Cruyff Foundation in the Netherlands and the Ashanti Regional Tennis Association.
The programme was also sponsored by One Yogo, Frooters Ice Baton and Pricelessmom.com Foundation, with additional support from the Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled in the Ashanti Region.