Two-day beginners' workshop on wheelchair tennis
A two-day beginners' workshop on wheelchair tennis aims to introduce more players to the Paralympic sport
At an age when kids learn to hop, skip and jump, Shiva Prasad learnt to walk using crutches, polio having affected his legs when he was two. However, the Bengaluru-born sports enthusiast didn't let the disability dampen his spirits. Four years ago, he began playing wheelchair tennis and today, the 31-year-old is among the top three players in the country, having participated in various national and international tournaments. Next weekend, Prasad will conduct a two-day workshop on wheelchair tennis in Mumbai.
Titled The First Serve, the workshop is an initiative by Indian Wheelchair Tennis Tour, a division of Bengaluru-based non-profit Astha, which is a platform for the development of the Paralympic sport in India. In the last one year, it has organised two national-level wheelchair tennis open tournaments, with a third one scheduled next month. "The idea behind the workshop is to offer training at the grassroots level and spread awareness about the sport, which has health benefits and also promotes social inclusion. The workshop is open to all, but we're keen to see more participation from kids aged nine to 15, as it's better to start learning the sport early," says Sunil Jain, founder of the non-profit organisation.
At the workshop, participants will get hands-on experience of using sport wheelchairs, which are designed differently from regular wheelchairs and, according to Jain, also difficult to procure. They will also learn how to manoeuvre it while holding a racquet. Prasad explains, "You need to have more upper body stamina, as it requires extensive arm and shoulder use. I will share tips on diet and fitness. The game's rules are similar to court tennis except that here, a player can take a shot even after two bounces."
The team will also select 10 candidates from the workshop to participate in a training programme to be held in Mumbai soon. "Some of the challenges are finding fully accessible tennis courts and coaching for wheelchair tennis. The workshop is also open to regular tennis coaches who are keen to teach it to wheelchair tennis enthusiasts," he adds.
On November 25 and 26, 10 am to 3 pm
At Priyadarshini Park and Sports Complex, Nepean Sea Road.