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Paralympic tennis aces ready for World Team Cup

Team South Africa, including some of its 2012 Paralympians, are in Europe ahead of the prestigious BNP Paribas World Team Cup tennis tournament in Antalya, Turkey next month.

The week-long tournament is the wheelchair tennis equivalent of the Davis Cup and Fed Cup and is played once per year and with four divisions competing annually ÔÇô Open Men, Open Women, Quads and Juniors.

Antalya hosts the ITF’s flagship wheelchair tennis team event for the second time in four years, with 52 teams from 28 nations set to contest this year’s competition. South Africa hosted the World Team Cup for the first time in 2011.

The quad and junior events for the BNP Paribas World Team Cup will again be contested by eight nations and the women’s and men’s groups are contested by 12 nations.

The ITF Wheelchair Tennis Committee has awarded wildcards to Canada and Sweden for the Quad World Group alongside the six direct entries. Tanzania makes its BNP Paribas World Team Cup debut this year, having been awarded one of four wildcards for the junior event, which is again supported by the Johan Cruyff Foundation. The ITF Wheelchair Tennis Committee has also awarded wildcards to Spain, Iraq and Russia.

Earlier this year the South African women’s team won the BNP World Team Cup Qualification Tournament in Kenya and therefore earned their place as one of the 12 nations to compete in the Women’s Group at the esteemed BNP World Team Cup 2013.

Our Junior team showed vast improvement last year which earned themselves a place in the top 4 nations in the world and an automatic entry on merit for the upcoming event in Antalya, Turkey.

The green and gold Quad’s team of Lucas Sithole, Steven Kekai and Bongani Dlamini also improved their standing in 2012 and secured themselves a place on merit as one of the top six teams in the world with an automatic entry to this year’s event.

Our men’s team earned a silver medal in the men’s Group II at the 2012 BNP World Team Cup that was held in Seoul, South Korea and also achieved a first by defeating team Belgium, and clinching a place in the top tier of 12 nations in the men’s World Group for the first time for the 2013 BNP Paribas World Team Cup. After finishing 16th in men’s World Group 2 on their World Team Cup debut in 2005 and reaching the semif-inals for the first time in 2011 and the final for the first time in 2012, South Africa continue to progress as wheelchair tennis nation.

KG Montjane and Lucas Sithole recently achieved new career high rankings after defeating their world No3 and world No1 rivals and are now ranked sixth and fifth in the world respectively.

The team left South Africa this week and are playing in a warm-up team in Rome from Thursday to Sunday.

WTSA’s Director and Coach Holger Losch said ÔÇ£We are proud of the athletes and their achievements. They have worked extremely hard to achieve these goals, and know they are ready to achieve a lot more. We are looking forward to the BNP World Team Cup in Turkey.”

Participation in local and international tournaments such as these is made possible by a generous sponsorship by Airports Company South Africa, the game sponsor of the sport.

The team representing South Africa at the World Team Cup In Turkey are:

Men: Evans Maripa, Leon Else, Donald Ramphadi. Reserve: Marshall March. Coach: Gerald Stoffberg
Women: KG Montjane, Rose vd Meer, Mabel Mankgele. Res: Thando Hlatshwayo. Coach: Lettica Venter
Quads team: Lucas Sithole, Bongani Dlamini, Steven Kekai. Coach: Holger Losch (also team manager) and Khotso Matshego
Junior team: Gift Lekganyane, Mariska Venter, Thatho Tsomole. Reserve: Thando Hlatswayo. Coach: Khotso Matshego.


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