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CHAMP sets eyes on 2012

By unknown | Dec 03, 2008 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Sarah Campbell

Sarah Campbell

As the world marks the International Day of People Living with Disability, there are many who still find it difficult to participate in society and are often forced to live on its outskirts.

One person who knows what it is to rise above a disability is South Africa's number one wheelchair tennis player.

Kgothatso Montjane was born with a congenital amputation of her left leg. During the early part of childhood she limped badly and in 1999 had to undergo an agonising amputation to fit a prosthetic leg.

"I was very lucky because my parents sent me to a special school as a young child," Montjane says. "This helped me come to terms with my disability and made me see that I was not alone.

"I don't see my disability as a challenge. There is so much to look forward to in life!"

Montjane's lucky break came when she began playing wheelchair tennis at the age of 19 after the Airports Company South Africa and Wheelchair Tennis South Africa set up a training camp through her school, the Helen Franz Special School, in Pretoria.

ACSA has pledged their support to Wheelchair Tennis South Africa as part of their corporate social investment programme and aims to make the sport more accessible to all South Africans.

Montjane soon excelled in the sport and during 2006 she maintained an unbeaten national record.

Through hard work and lots of practice Montjane soon established herself as a force to be reckoned with.

This courageous athlete was the first South African wheelchair tennis player to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.

Unfortunately she was knocked out in the first round.

The experience of playing in front of a crowd of 10000 people was undoubtedly a highlight of Montjane's career and should stand her in good stead when she prepares for the 2012 London Paralympics.

Commenting on what wheelchair tennis means to her Montjane says: "I want to encourage other people with disabilities to play wheelchair tennis because it's given me a new life and a healthy sense of wellbeing.

"You don't have to be a champion to play wheelchair tennis. It shows people with disabilities that we can be active and lead good lives."

Ten percent of the world's population, or 650 million people, face the daily challenge of living with a disability.

In developing countries 80 to 90 percent of persons with disabilities of working age are unemployed.


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