Source: Tennis Canada
Vancouver, January 22, 2015 – Tennis Canada recently named the 2015 National High Performance Wheelchair Program athletes. The program, part of the athlete pathway, is designed for those on track for the Parapan Am Games, Paralympic Games, World Team Cup and ITF rankings. The eight nominated athletes (four men and four quad players) will benefit from financial assistance as well as coaching, training and sport science support. Three of last year’s development team players (Mika Ishikawa, Jean Francois Sylvestre and Rob Shaw) have earned their spots on the 2015 team through outstanding performances during the 2014 season.
“We are happy to see the national program thrive,” said Janet Petras, director of wheelchair tennis, Tennis Canada. “Through our support we hope to provide the best possible framework for our athletes to assist them in reaching their potential and perform to the best of their abilities in this Parapan Am and pre-Paralympic season.”
The nominated athletes are:
- Joel Dembe (Toronto), No. 39 ITF ranking
- Philippe Bedard (Montreal), No. 47 ITF ranking
- Eric Gilbert (St-Raymond, Que.), No. 80 ITF ranking
- Jean Francois Sylvestre (Quebec City), No. 117 ITF ranking
- Gary Luker (Ancaster, Ont.), No. 16 1ITF ranking
- Sarah Hunter (Surrey, BC), No. 19 ITF ranking
- Mika Ishikawa (Vancouver), No. 23 ITF ranking
- Rob Shaw (North Bay, Ont.), No. 33 ITF ranking
The athletes are currently in full preparation mode for the final stretch of qualification for Parapan Am Games in Toronto, taking place in August, as well as the start of qualification for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Players will be heading to tournaments in Europe, South America, USA, as well as Canada starting in February to try and collect coveted world ranking points.
Other highlights this season include the Americas qualification tournament for the BNP Paribas World Team Cup in Baranquillo, Colombia in March for the men’s team plus the World Team Cup main event in Antalya, Turkey in May, for which the quad team has already secured direct qualification.