Wimbledon, one of the most prestigious tennis tournaments, is running from June 24th until July 14th. Talented men and women from all around the world are playing for the Championship Trophy. An exciting tournament draws attention from people of all abilities. Athletes with disabilities may be interested in playing tennis and not sure how to get involved. There are a few cities within Ontario that offer lessons, clinics, and leagues for wheelchair users. Here, we highlight a club in the Ottawa region, The National Capital Wheelchair Tennis Association (NCWTA). The NCWTA gives athletes in the Ottawa-Carlton region the chance to play and compete in the sports of wheelchair tennis and table tennis.
National Capital Wheelchair Tennis Association
The National Capital Wheelchair Tennis Association offers programs for athletes of all ages with mobility disabilities at the recreational and competitive levels. Professional tennis instructors offer weekly tennis lessons and practice sessions for athletes during the fall, winter, and spring terms. Sessions for beginner and advanced players take place at the Ottawa Athletic Club. In addition, weekly table tennis lessons and practice take place year-round at different venues around the city.
Wheelchair tennis largely follows the same rules as non-disabled tennis. However, a ball is allowed to bounce twice, and the second bounce can take place either inside or outside the court. Program participants do not need to be full-time wheelchair users, but they play using sport wheelchairs. Moreover, competitive players must have a mobility disability. However, recreational athletes can play against non-disabled players, or partner with non-disabled players in an up/down doubles format.
Likewise, Para table tennis also follows the same rules as non-disabled table tennis. Program participants can play from a sitting or standing position. There are a few rule modifications for sitting athletes. In Paralympic competition, players must have a physical or intellectual disability. However, recreationally or in integrated competitions, athletes with and without disabilities can play together.
Players may use their own rackets and sport wheelchairs, or borrow equipment from the NCWTA.
Competitions for both sports are divided into classes based on players’ different levels of mobility.
Ottawa hosts a yearly three-day international tournament in August, called the OAC Capital City Classic. Players of all levels can compete in different divisions. Furthermore, the NCWTA also provides support for athletes involved in local, regional, provincial, national, and international competitions.
The National Capital Wheelchair Tennis Association gives athletes the skills to play tennis or table tennis at all levels, in the Ottawa community and beyond.