Tennis can be wheelie fun for everyone
By Bec Singh PEOPLE with disabilities on the Tablelands are being encouraged to roll into the Mareeba Tennis Club and emulate their on-court heroes.
Disabled and able-bodied participants tried wheelchair tennis at the club on Wednesday at an event called Run and Roll.
It was officially opened by Mareeba Shire councillor Angela Toppin and Tablelands Regional Council Mayor Joe Paronella, who both had a go.
“It is such a great initiative for people in wheelchairs to have a chance to exercise and socialise while playing tennis,” said Cr Paronella.
“This was quite an experience, it was not easy to play in a wheelchair but it was a terrific way to take part. It was great working with Mareeba Shire Council and we want to con- tinue to work with Mareeba Shire to highlight the sport for disabled people.
“I was excited to see the budding athletes and all the people and visitors embracing those with a disability.”
Cr Toppin said she admired the skills of people with disabilities and everything they do.
“I was only in a wheelchair for a little while, but I take my hat off to you,” she said.
Spinners Inclusive Sports Far North representative Angela Willett said it was great to diversify the sports available to people of all abilities.
“It brings inclusion on a ground level for sports and recreation activities,” she said.
Tennis Queensland Far North Queensland representative Jen Rees said the event was a new initiative introduced to the region by Freshwater Tennis and it was a great way for families to bond.
“This is our inaugural event during Disability Action Week and we have a new found respect for people in wheelchairs,” she said.
“Due to this event we have found we need the gates at the club to be wider and better ramps to be installed.
“We have also learned the wheelchair ramps at Lake Eacham are too steep and will need to be improved.”
Ms Rees said this event would not have been possible without the support and grants from Cairns Regional Council and the Department of Communities, Child Safety and disability services.
Paralympians Heath Davidson and Keegan Oh-Chee both shared their inspiring stories with spectators. For more information on playing tennis or getting involved with the Mareeba Tennis club visit www.freshwatertennis.org.
Children getting into the spirit of wheelchair tennis at the Run and Roll at the Mareeba Tennis Club.