Wheelchair tennis tournament opens at Port de Plaisance

POSTED: 11/28/12 2:14 PM

PORT-DE-PLAISANCE—Minister Silveria Jacobs opened the tennis tournament for the top wheel chair tennis players in the world by hitting the first ball down the court with Brad Parks who was the first handicapped athlete to introduce wheel chair tennis in the world.  The minister told the gathering that Top Promotions had done a great job in bringing the athletes and believes because of their performance that they will be able to inspire not only St. Maarten but the entire world.

Jacobs challenged local wheel chair-bound citizens use this opportunity to get “a hit or two.” The international athletes are here for a week. “Most of our disabled are shut in,” she said

Top Promotions Foundation, the Be Able Committee and its president Henri Brookson were praised by Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams for bringing together the athletes for the tennis tournament at Port de f Plaisance. “A lot of hard work has preceded this event and when it was made public it sounded over whelming and to some it sounded impossible,” she said.

She thanked the athletes especially who have travelled from afar which to some” was a dream” to come to the island and participate in the event. The prime minister said that the fact that the athletes are here on the island is an inspiration not only for the disabled but for all the people of St. Maarten. She told the gathering of about one hundred, that there are disabled citizens on the island who are able “to go the extra mile” but that this event will certainly inspire them.

President of Top Promotions Henri Brookson said that among his objectives was to promote St. Maarten at its best through events. “Just like Coca-Cola, St. Maarten has to have a brand since branding is a way to get people to the island. Sports tourism is the way to go.”

Brookson said that the aim is to make the tournament an annual event. “Without the sponsors including the island government, this would not have been possible.”

Brad Parks said that he is happy to be part of St. Maarten’s plan to bring awareness and to hope that this will help influencing the entire Caribbean. “When I started playing wheel chair tennis in the seventies, everyone thought that it was impossible. People who had tennis courts were afraid to have us there. Today we have accomplished so much over the years. Wheel chair tennis is included in all major tournaments.”

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