One of the advantages of running my own business and being the boss is that from time to time I get to skip work, such as leaving early on a Friday to avoid the M25 exodus from London.
Next year I plan to be a 2012 Games Maker for the Olympic and Paralympics, I’ll be jumping ship (HMS Inclusion) donating 10 days to each event. This week I had my Games Maker selection interview at Excel in East London, I don’t expect any feedback for a while but I’m feeling perky about my chances of donning that Games Maker uniform, which I’d get to keep after the Games!
As a disabled youngster I was never allowed to attend gym and games lessons; maybe this experience is what drives me in my business today working to stop it ever happening again. Just imagine the thrill of being at the heart of the biggest sporting event ever staged in the UK.
Tennis is my chosen Paralympic event at Eton Manor within the Olympic Park. Wheelchair tennis is the fastest growing wheelchair sport and it’s my secret pleasure. When I say “I just cant get enough” – I mean just that! Many clubs are not open to wheelchair players because of such things as court surfaces, steps and physical barriers that lock out a wheelchair user. I prefer to play on hard court, acrylic-plexicushion surfaces but many clubs have indoor carpets which are difficult and slow for wheelchair users.
There are some exceptional tennis clubs that have open hearts and minds when it comes to welcoming wheelchair players. For many years the Tennis Foundation has held the National Wheelchair Championships at Oxstalls Tennis Centre, Gloucester, the Invacare World Cup at the Nottingham Tennis Centre and Welti Health and Fitness in Shrewsbury has been a great friend too. After the 2012 Games Eton Manor will keep four indoor and six outdoor courts, so I’m expecting to see more coaches and competitions in East London.
Pass on the good news about this rapidly expanding sport and the fantastic news about Olympic legacy for disabled people. To find out more about getting started in wheelchair tennis visit www.tennisfoundation.org.uk. The Dan Maskell Tennis Trust can also be a great help www.danmaskelltennistrust.org.uk.