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UTSC to host Parapan tennis competitions at new premier facility

UTSC will host the Parapan tennis competitions at a new premier tennis centre located in the Highland Creek Valley. (Photo by Ken Jones)

Like the sweet refrain of a cross-court rally, the Toronto PanAm Sports Centre will have a counterpoint premier facility on the UTSC campus.  TO2015 will be partnering with UTSC to develop a new tennis centre to host the Parapan tennis competitions in 2015. As a follow through, the Games legacy will continue as UTSC becomes home to Wheelchair Tennis high performance sport training for Ontario.

“Wheelchair tennis has been very successful at UTSC,” says Scott McRoberts, director of athletics and recreation. For the past two years, McRoberts and his team have delivered a comprehensive wheelchair tennis program that drew the attention of the TO2015 organizers.  The program, which affords opportunities for players and coaching experience for students, was developed by the UTSC athletics department with guidance from AccessAbility Services, and funded in part by a grant from the Ontario Wheelchair Sports Association.

“It’s exciting and gratifying to see the level of development and support for wheelchair sport at UTSC,” says McRoberts. “It shows we can deliver sports for our diverse communities that are inclusive for everyone, along with opportunities to enhance playing, coaching, training and instruction skills for our staff and student athletes.”

McRoberts points out that tennis is a strong sport at UTSC. The campus hosts a number of provincial and national qualifying tournaments each year, and is home to the University’s men’s and women’s Varsity Blues teams.  “Not only is there great playing and coaching participation by students, staff and faculty, we have very strong community participation, with more than 350 young people from surrounding neighbourhoods taking part in our summer programs. We could be home to the next Eugenie Bouchard or Milos Raonic” he says. 

Tennis programs and tournaments for 2014 will continue as planned.  Construction of the new facility, which will have a stadium court and seven tournament courts, is expected to begin in late summer, and take place over the fall and winter, with the final surfacing work to be done in spring 2015, in time to host Ontario Tennis Association test events before the  Parapan Am Games August 7 -15. While the rules for wheelchair tennis differ only in that a player is allowed two bounces of the ball before return, the new facility will meet or exceed AODA barrier-free design standards. The existing courts will transition to natural green space as part of the environmental legacy of the Games, another advantage point.

 




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