Photo: Reg CaldecottHRH the Duke of Kent watches Lucas Sithole in action
Some of South Africa’s leading wheelchair tennis players met His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent last Wednesday when the Duke visited them during a training session at the University of Johannesburg’s tennis courts, the main training facility used by Wheelchair Tennis South Africa.
His Royal Highness visited the facility in his capacity as President of the All England Club and as well as watching players in action, including South Africa’s world No. 7 quad singles player Lucas Sithole, he met Sithole and his and fellow London 2012 Paralympians Kgothatso Montjane and Eliphas Maripa.
“I always see the Duke handing out trophies at Wimbledon, so when I found out that I would be meeting him, I was overjoyed,” said Sithole. “It was so inspiring meeting a man of his calibre. I hope that other are also inspired and will now take up the sport.”
“For him to sit down and listen to our history was amazing. It was truly a privilege,” said women’s world No. 10 Montjane.
The Duke of Kent also met developing players, such as South African junior Donald Ramphadi and had lunch with representatives of Wheelchair Tennis South Africa and the vice-chancellor of the University of Johannesburg, Ihron Rensburg.
Wheelchair Tennis South Africa chairperson Celia Du Toit said: “He chatted with us about wheelchair tennis development and where we plan on going. He was very interested in our history.”