HON­OUR: Ace year for ten­nis play­ers is recog­nised

Dis­abled stars join mayor for lunch

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Steve Bax steve.bax@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

HILLING­DON’S elite dis­abil­ity ten­nis play­ers have capped off a suc­cess­ful year by join­ing mayor Ge­orge Cooper for lunch.

Jor­danne Whi­ley, Andy Lapthorne and Va­lerie Copenhagen were in­vited to the Civic Cen­tre on Fri­day for a re­cep­tion in their hon­our.

It was an op­por­tu­nity for the mayor to ex­press con­grat­u­la­tions on be­half of the bor­ough for their sport­ing achieve­ments.

Cllr Cooper said: “It was won­der­ful to see such ta­lented young­sters. Their level of com­mit­ment demon­strates be­yond ques­tion their ded­i­ca­tion to their sport.

“They are a credit to the bor­ough and should be a role model to us all.”

Jor­danne, from Ick­en­ham, had an im­pres­sive sea­son that in­cluded win­ning the first Grand Slam sin­gles ti­tle of her ca­reer at the US Open in Septem­ber and her first Su­per Se­ries sin­gles ti­tle at the Bri­tish Open in July.

Now ranked num­ber four in the world at wheelchair ten­nis, she was also made an MBE in the Queen’s Birth­day Hon­ours.

She said: “It was great to meet the mayor and have my achieve­ments recog­nised in such a way.

“He made me feel very wel­come and we had a very nice chat over some sand­wiches.”

Andy Lapthorne, from East­cote, who is pre­par­ing for De­cem­ber’s NEC Wheelchair Ten­nis Masters in Lon­don said the bor­ough’s recog­ni­tion was a ‘re­ally nice way’ to mark the group’s achieve­ments and ‘to pro­mote wheelchair ten­nis and con­tinue to raise its pro­file’.

Ruis­lip deaf ten­nis player Va­lerie Copenhagen said meet­ing the mayor was an ‘hon­our and great ex­pe­ri­ence’.

She is eye­ing suc­cess at the 2016 Euro­pean Deaf Ten­nis Cham­pi­onships in Slove­nia af­ter mak­ing her in­ter­na­tional de­but this July when she was se­lected to rep­re­sent Great Bri­tain at the 1st World Deaf Ten­nis Cham­pi­onships.

Va­lerie added: “I’ve never made my deaf­ness a bar­rier and hav­ing had this ex­pe­ri­ence of meet­ing and talk­ing with the mayor and the other play­ers, I’m even more de­ter­mined to train hard and play well.”

Marc McCar­roll, from Ick­en­ham, was un­able to at­tend the lunch ap­point­ment due to train­ing for next week’s UNIQLO Wheelchair Dou­bles Masters tour­na­ment, in Cal­i­for­nia.

Mayor Ge­orge Cooper in­di­vid­u­ally meets (from left) Jor­danne Whi­ley, Andy Lapthorne and Va­lerie Copenhagen


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