Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Eight Battambang tennis players get new sport wheelchairs

Eight Battambang tennis players get new sport wheelchairs

From left: Tep Rithivit, general-secretary of Tennis Cambodia; Father Kike Figerado; and Hisae Arai
From left: Tep Rithivit, general-secretary of Tennis Cambodia; Father Kike Figerado; and Hisae Arai pose with a wheelchair recipient yesterday. Sreng Meng Srun

Eight Battambang tennis players get new sport wheelchairs

Cambodia’s National Mines Awareness Day held special significance in Battambang yesterday for eight disabled tennis players, some of whom are landmine victims now actively involved in Tennis Cambodia’s Wheelchair Program funded by the International Tennis Federation.

Out of the 17 custom-made sports wheelchairs, costing about $2,500 each and donated to Tennis Cambodia jointly by the ITF and Pakistan Davis Cupper Aisam Qureshi’s Stop War Start Tennis Foundation, eight were given to the Battambang players at a simple function at the La Paloma Centre for the Disabled,where the program was launched nearly 18 months ago.

While 12 wheelchairs were funded by the world governing body, five were paid for by Qureshi’s foundation, which aims to use the sport as a bridge to unite communities and nations torn apart by conflict.

“It is a great day for us. As a project country of ITF’s Wheelchair Program, we are proud to take this big step after the Australian Academy Wheelchair coach Joe Kubizniak set the ball rolling with that players clinic last October,” secretary-general of Tennis Cambodia Tep Rithivit said.

“With these specially made tennis wheelchairs, players will enjoy the game more than ever and become more skilful. We thank the ITF and the Stop War Start Tennis Foundation for this magnanimous gesture,” he said.

“I am the happiest man today. We have been striving hard to create an inclusive society and to be able to provide these tennis players with the best of the best equipment is indeed a remarkable step forward,” said Father Kike Figerado, the Bishop of the Apostolic Prefecture of Battambang, which runs both the Aruppe Karuna Welcome Center for the Disabled and the La Paloma Centre.

Tennis Cambodia’s Global Goodwill Ambassador Hisae Arai, who is also the managing director of the NGO Three Hearts Foundation, said the new wheelchairs meant a totally new career path for these players.

Her visit to Battambang coincides with her participation alongside her THF associate Kaori Iizuka in a mines awareness event in Pailin today as representatives from the Japan Mines Action Services.

The eight players given with the new wheelchairs were, Tik Toy, Sovann Ravid, Saen Kimsuo, Thoo Thuen, Sang Makara, Khean Chen, Ngek Pheak, Thav Thed and Phee Somart.

Joe Kubizniak, delegated by the ITF, conducted a two-day players clinic in Battambang last October after holding sessions over three days with several coaches in Phnom Penh to help them cope with the challenges of wheelchair tennis

The ITF Wheelchair Development Fund aims to promote long-lasting wheelchair programs in designated countries.

Dutch football legend Johan
Cruyff’s foundation has been supportive of the ITF Wheelchair Tennis Fund since 2003. As Cruyff himself put it: “As a player I always believed in the power of working together in bringing good people and groups in contact with each other in order for them to work as a team.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Twenty years after Pol Pot died a broken man, his memory looms large

    Two decades have passed, but Mea Chron still stands by Pol Pot. Most days he also stands by the mass murderer’s cremation site, keeping guard in the Khmer Rouge’s last stronghold of Anlong Veng. Pol Pot, the widely reviled despot who spearheaded the

  • Reuters: US Embassy fired 32 staff members for sharing pornography

    The United States Embassy in Phnom Penh has fired 32 non-diplomatic staff members who were allegedly caught exchanging pornographic images and video, including of minors, according to the news agency Reuters. Four sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the content was shared in

  • ‘Trouble’ foreseen in Khmer New Year almanac

    At 9:12am on Saturday, Cambodia’s devout can expect the arrival of Moha Thorathevey, an angel on a peacock holding a trident in one hand and an auspicious serrated wheel in the other. The angel, who has a liking for water hyacinths, will usher in

  • Our 2018 guide to spending Khmer New Year in Phnom Penh

    Khmer New Year festivities are upon us. For the next few days, travellers will be making their way to their home provinces to eat, celebrate, play traditional games and visit a pagoda with offerings. If you will be staying put in Phnom Penh for the