The Tennis Foundation is celebrating its most successful Paralympic Games ever for players on its World Class Performance Programme after bringing home six medals from Rio.
Ten players from the World Class Programme represented ParalympicsGB in Rio with six players claiming medals including two bronze, three silvers and one gold. It is hoped the success will inspire the next generation of British wheelchair tennis stars who can get involved with the sport through the Foundation’s Talent ID Programme Push2Podium.
Gordon Reid, Alfie Hewett, Andy Lapthorne, Jamie Burdekin, Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whiley all picked up medals and numerically, Great Britain finished top of the seven countries that made up the wheelchair tennis medal table in Rio winning 33% of the available medals for the Paralympic Tennis Event.
No country has ever won more wheelchair tennis medals at one Games and only the Netherlands had previously won six medals at a single Paralympic Tennis Event.
“The success in Rio has been unprecedented. We smashed our UK Sport medal target of 2-3 medals and have really put ourselves on the map as a world leader in wheelchair tennis. Everyone at the Tennis Foundation has worked incredibly hard for this success since London 2012 where we aimed to build on the legacy of a home Games and deliver greater success in Rio,” said Geraint Richards Head of Disability Player Performance at the Tennis Foundation.
“The performances and effort from the players, coaches and support staff has been world class and we are very proud. We are already working towards Tokyo 2020 and it is important for us to use this success to inspire more people to take up the game so we have real strength and depth and enjoy success for years to come. We couldn’t have achieved this without the support of UK Sport and National Lottery funding and we hope this will continue into the next cycle.”
British players won medals in five of the six medal events, a greater spread of medal success than any other nation. This included an unprecedented gold and silver medal in the men’s singles.
The wheelchair tennis squad was one of only four GB squads to surpass their UK Sport medal target range and finished top of those four teams after achieving a 100% increase on their pre-Games medal target.
Finally, wheelchair tennis was the only ParalympicsGB sports team to achieve a 200% increase on medals won at London 2012.
As well as the medal success, wheelchair tennis also enjoyed tremendous viewing figures with a peak audience of more than 2 million people tuning into the all-British men’s singles gold medal match between Gordon Reid and Alfie Hewett on Channel 4.
This builds on the success of the first ever Singles event to be staged at Wimbledon in July which saw Gordon Reid crowned Champion.
The next opportunity for the public to watch their Paralympic stars is the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters held at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre at the end of November. Tickets for the event are on sale now.