A sensational sporting summer
It has been a memorable few months for several of Britain’s talented stars with a Rotary link on the track, in the pool and on the tennis court.
What a sensational summer of sport it has been for a proud collection of Rotary-inspired sportsmen and women.
A year ago, Rotary clubs in East Anglia rallied round tennis player Alfie Hewett by helping to fund an off-court wheelchair for the 19-year-old.
And four years earlier, the then 14-year-old Alfie was one of nine disabled sportsmen and women to receive sports wheelchairs for competitions.
That chair is adorned with the Rotary logo which could be seen when the teenager and partner Gordon Reid successfully defended their men’s wheelchair doubles title at Wimbledon in July.
They came from a set down to defeat the French pair of Nicolas Peifer and Stéphane Houdet.
And the pair repeated the feat over the French duo at the US Open in September with a 7-5, 6-4 victory. “I’m a bit speechless right now. It was an amazing match,” said Alfie after the success in New York.
Sadly, 19-year-old Alfie, who won his maiden Grand Slam singles title at the French Open this summer, succumbed to fatigue losing the singles final at the US Open to Houdet 6-2, 4-6, 6-3.
Samantha Kinghorn and Kare Adenegan won the wheelchair sports award at the Rotary Young Citizen Awards in 2016 and 2017. Now both ladies are celebrating following the World Para Athletics Championships in London.
Samantha is a double world champion after picking up gold medals for stunning performances in the T53 100m and 200m finals, setting a new world record in the latter. She also took home a bronze in the T53 400m.
Samantha, who lives with her family in the Scottish Borders, took up wheelchair racing following an accident at her home in 2010 that left her paralysed from the waist down.
Samantha Kinghorn was the winner of the inaugural Rotary Young Citizen Wheelchair Sports Award back in 2015.
Coventry-based Kare also came away from the championships with three medals, after winning silver in the T34 100m final and bronze medals in the T34 400m and 800m.
Sixteen-year-old Kare, who was born with diplegic cerebral palsy, matched her medal haul from the Paralympics in Rio last year and continues a meteoric rise for the young star, who only took up wheelchair racing in 2012.
The Rotary Club of Uttoxeter had more cause than most to celebrate swimmer Adam Peaty’s record-breaking double gold medal triumphs at the World Championships in Hungary.
The 22-year-old was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship in 2016 by the club which has forged close links with the breaststroker who captured both the 50m and 100m, setting a world record over the shorter distance.
The reigning Olympic 100m breaststroke champion also took silver in the 100m mixed medley relay to take his World Championship medal tally to six – five golds and a silver.
“There’s always more to come” he said. “Whether that comes in a year, three years or five years I don’t know but I am pretty confident it will eventually”.
Published: Thursday 19th October 2017