Paralympic medallist Andy Lapthorne handed out a few winning tennis tips to around 90 schoolchildren at a Disability Tennis Festival for local schools at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centretoday (Friday 11 November).
He met primary schoolchildren aged 7-11 from 12 schools from across London and Hertfordshire who took part in the special event. And, as well as passing on some tennis techniques, he told them a bit about his successes at the Paralympics this summer, proudly showing off his Rio 2016 silver and bronze medals to pupils.
After the event, Andy Lapthorne said: “This has been a great experience, being able to connect with such young pupils, all keen to learn about my own experiences in the sport and willing to have a go at playing tennis to the best of their ability. It is great that they have this opportunity to try out this wonderful sport.”
The event was aimed at offering the young people with a variety of intellectual and physical impairments, such as autism and deafness, a chance to play the popular sport at the legacy venue that was purpose built for the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
The festival saw students guided through four different tennis themed activities across the centre’s indoor courts, each of which was adapted to meet individual players’ needs, whilst at the same time challenging their skills.
Jack Pringle, Sports Development Officer at Lee Valley Regional Authority said: “This is our third Disability Tennis Festival and has been a huge success with teachers and pupils alike. We are delighted that Andy Lapthorne could come and talk to the pupils and give them some valuable insights into his own involvement in the game. I am sure he has been an inspiration to these very young students in their introduction to the sport. Today is part of our extensive activity programme for the whole region, part of Lee Valley’s sustainable legacy from the London 2012 Games.”
Andy Lapthorne won a silver medal in the wheelchair tennis Quad Singles and a bronze medal in the Quad Doubles events at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games this summer. Currently ranked second in the International Tennis Federation’s Wheelchair Tennis Quads table, the Paralympian is set to compete in the prestigious NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters tournament which takes place later this month at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre between 30 November and 4 December. (Tickets for this can be purchased here.) The player will be joined by fellow Paralympics GB teammates Gordon Reid, Jordanne Whiley and Lucy Shuker who will all be in contention for the men’s and women’s titles.