H-F racquet club hosts Special Olympics
July 19, 2012 1:02PM
The H-F Racquet and Fitness Club recently hosted the Special Olympics Area Tournament for tennis.
Updated: August 23, 2012 6:06AM
The H-F Racquet & Fitness Club hosted, for the 23rd year, the Special Olympics Area Tournament for tennis recently. This year’s theme is “Achieving a Personal Best.” Special Olympics is a worldwide nonprofit organization, which provides sports training and competition opportunities for athletes with intellectual disabilities.
Tennis, introduced into the Special Olympics in 1987 at the Special Olympics International Games held at Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., is now an integral part of the Special Olympics.
In 1989, the club held its first adaptive tennis class, supported by Sylvia Gothard, its racquet sports manager, and teaching pro Nancy Hoekstra.
The athletes compete in one of five levels of play. Match-play athletes can compete in singles, doubles and unified doubles in which a Special Olympic athlete partners with a traditional tennis player. In 2010, Brent Eriks and Don Brozek, both club participants, competed in unified doubles.
To qualify for the Special Olympics National and/or International Games, you advance, like any sport, a step at a time.
Step one on the way to the Special Olympics North American National Games is the Area Tournament.
Illinois has 18 areas, six of which offer tennis training including the club. Athletes then advance to state competition.
Every four years, Special Olympics North American offers national games. Following these games in the next year are the Special Olympics World Summer Games, most recently in Greece in 2011.
These World Summer Games bring together 192 countries to compete in 23 Olympic-type sports including tennis. Nancy Hoekstra, Special Olympics North America tennis director, participated in the 2011 Greece Special Olympics as TEAM USA’s sport manager for tennis.
Provided to SouthtownStar