Ex-Ryles Park pupil push­ing for Rio place

Macclesfield Express - - JOBS - TEN­NIS PIPPA FIELD

WHEEL­CHAIR ten­nis player Antony Cot­ter­ill is do­ing ev­ery­thing right to put him­self in the pic­ture for Rio 2016, ac­cord­ing to team-mate Andy Lapthorne.

With wheel­chair ten­nis leg­end Peter Nor­folk re­tir­ing from top level ten­nis a year af­ter Lon­don 2012, it leaves a space up for grabs in the quads dou­bles team.

Lapthorne, Nor­folk’s part­ner en route to sil­ver at Lon­don, cur­rently leads the charge as the sec­ondbest player in the world.

For­mer Ryles Park High School pupil Cot­ter­ill, how­ever, is not far be­hind in fourth, one place above fel­low Brit Jamie Bur­dekin.

The lat­ter has pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence of Par­a­lympics hav­ing won bronze along­side Nor­folk at Bei­jing 2008 while Cot­ter­ill, who first played the sport in 2004, has yet to get the nod for a Games out­ing.

That could all change next year and Cot­ter­ill has cer­tainly been do­ing his chances no harm in 2015, part­ner­ing Amer­i­can David Wag­ner en route to quad dou­bles gold at the Gaut­eng Open in South Africa be­fore then team­ing up with Lapthorne to win their sec­ond quad dou­bles Su­per Se­ries ti­tle to­gether at the South Africa Open in April.

And with plenty of ten­nis left be­tween now and Rio, Lapthorne knows the bat­tle for places will go right down to the wire.

“I won the South Africa Su­per Se­ries with Antony re­cently,” he said.

“Those two guys are bat­tling it out to see who can qual­ify the high­est.

“He is very good at the net and it good at get­ting the short ball and putting it away early. It’s a lot more like an able-bod­ied team. He will try and pick the vol­leys off.

“Then there’s Jamie Bur­dekin from Liver­pool. He played with Peter (Nor­folk) in Bei­jing and won a bronze medal. He is a strong con­tender for a place in the dou­bles too.

“The de­ci­sion will be re­ally hard. It’s a nice prob­lem to have. They can go ei­ther way. They’ll all be in the team, it will just be down to the de­ci­sion on the dou­bles.”

Lapthorne re­cently took a break from train­ing to throw his sup­port be­hind this year’s Na­tional Par­a­lympic Day which will take place on July 26.

De­signed to help con­tinue the legacy of Lon­don 2012, the an­nual event at the Queen El­iz­a­beth Olympic Park will fea­ture elite ath­let­ics and swimming as well as pro­mot­ing dis­abil­ity sport, and Lapthorne ad­mits the tim­ing could not be bet­ter with Rio fast ap­proach­ing.

“It’s a great event, it show­cases Par­a­lympic sport to the public. It’s great to be able to go back to the Olympic Park and see the amaz­ing work that’s been done there,” he added.

“It’s such an amaz­ing venue, my fam­ily are from around that neck of the woods and there are some re­ally spe­cial mem­o­ries for me.

“It just gives peo­ple the op­por­tu­nity to come to­gether and celebrate what they love about the Par­a­lympics.

“The count­down to Rio is also well and truly on and this is a great re­minder of what they can ex­pect to see next year.”

Tick­ets for Na­tional Par­a­lympic Day are avail­able at Tick­et­mas­ter: http:// www.tick­et­mas­ter. co.uk/npd2015/. #NPD2015 is sup­ported by Spirit of 2012

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