Press Release (ePRNews.com) - SAN DIEGO - Jan 24, 2019 - On Jan. 5 and 6, junior wheelchair tennis athletes met at the Aztec Tennis Center on the campus of San Diego State University for the 2nd JTB Wheelchair Tennis Global Challenge. All together, 12 athletes were able to make the trip out to San Diego for the JTB Wheelchair Tennis Global Challenge, hosted by B-Adaptive Foundation and Aztec Adaptive Sports.
The event kicked off on Saturday, Jan. 5, with both singles and doubles matches. A rarity for the usually sunny and calm San Diego, rain and dark skies dawned on the athletes, but 18 total matches were still played in high spirits.
On the second day, the gloomy skies cleared, making way for the beautiful San Diego sun. A new tournament format was followed, with all double matches throughout the day with the catch of having pairs being made up of athletes from different countries. In addition to the difficulties finding a rhythm with a new partner, there was a language barrier between the Japanese players and the Canadian and American athletes, which proved to be a great experience for the pairs to adapt and find ways to communicate effectively.
The tournament was especially exciting for the Japanese athletes, as it allowed them to sightsee around San Diego and experience the United States firsthand. On one of the practice sessions prior to the tournament, the four Japanese players had the amazing opportunity to meet and practice with one of the top wheelchair tennis athletes in the world, David Wagner. Additionally, local students studying Japanese from San Dieguito High School shared stories and laughs over lunch with Team Japan.
In between practices and matches, Team Japan also visited Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres, as well as Coronado Bay, one of San Diego’s most recognizable landmarks. The commuting was also eye-opening, as the athletes used the San Diego trolley system and saw that numerous individuals using wheelchairs were getting around town unaccompanied, which inspired and gave confidence to the young athletes that they could do the same.
Located in Los Angeles, the non-profit organization B-Adaptive Foundation (BAF) partnered with the student-run Aztec Adaptive Sports from San Diego State University. B-Adaptive Foundation strives to create opportunities for young adaptive sports athletes to travel overseas to experience other cultures through sports, with this year’s JTB Wheelchair Tennis Global Challenge the second year in a row of its kind.
The participating athletes for this year’s event were selected with the assistance of each nation’s wheelchair tennis organization under one predicament: each individual was to travel unaccompanied. For three of the four athletes from Team Japan, this marked their first time traveling overseas. Through the challenges faced for them traveling unaccompanied, they not only grew as athletes but, more importantly, as individuals and proved to themselves that they could grow and experience all that the world has to offer on their own.
Jason Allen, Manager, United States Tennis Association
“This was an amazing opportunity for young athletes to get international exposure to other players. As they prepare to join the Uniqlo Wheelchair Tennis Tour, this experience is invaluable. The USTA would like to thank the B-Adaptive Foundation and San Diego State University Adaptive Athletics for what they are doing to grow our sport.”
Michelle McDonnell, CTRS, Program Coordinator, British Columbia Wheelchair Tennis Association
“We have recognized for some time that there are simply not enough competitive and travel opportunities for our junior players, so your event has filled a large gap in our programming. As I’m sure you know, the experience of traveling for sport serves to foster independence, confidence and maturity in young players that simply cannot be taught by other means. Events like the JTB Global Wheelchair Tennis Challenges allow us to provide such experiences in a supportive and fun environment and we are very grateful for the opportunity.”
Event Homepage: http://wt-globalchallenge.com/
Event Hosts: B-Adaptive Foundation, Aztec Adaptive Sports
Event Sponsors: Japan Travel Bureau, Japan Airlines, American Airlines, Hoshino Resorts
About B-Adaptive Foundation
B-Adaptive Foundation was founded in Los Angeles in 2017 with the goal of providing opportunities for middle and high school students with disabilities to travel overseas and, more importantly, to grow as athletes and individuals. The objective is that people with disabilities not be limited in daily activities or larger aspirations and, ultimately, to help create a more inclusive environment in which no individual is restricted in any capacity.
For more information, please visit https://www.b-adaptive.org/.
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Phone: (310) 294-9240