Jerry Russell, whose vision became the WCWTA said this fills a void that came about after a weekly wheelchair clinic in Marina Del Rey ended. A player since 1990, Jerry finds both the competitive and social aspects of the game rewarding. With some friends, he founded this organization with the intent to provide an outlet for wheelchair players to get together and improve their tennis while forging a social bond.
On the competitive front, each week the group meets at Warner Center Tennis Club for a 2 hour clinic under the direction of USPTA pro John Quijano. The foundation takes care of the costs associated with this as well as providing rackets and a “loaner” wheelchair for anyone who wants to come and try out the game.
Over the years, the organization has helped many people learn the game. One of those, Paul Shin, began when he was 11 years old. Jerry said “It is rewarding not just to bring tennis into his life, but more importantly watch him grow as a person. That makes me proud of our organization.” Another young man who has joined the group is Andrew Lee. Andrew, a former wheelchair basketball player, has adapted well to tennis. Only in his second year playing tennis, he is a fierce competitor and was a finalist in the “C” division.
The West Coast Wheelchair Classic draws players from Northern California and San Diego. Jerry acknowledges that without the support of the SCTA and USTA through grass roots grants they would not be as successful as they are. For this tournament he has also received help through discounts on food, which is provided to all players during the day. Jerry especially thanks Jamba Juice of Encino, for donating fruit smoothies and water bottles for the players, which came in handy during the extremely hot weekend.
Jerry is looking to partner with other associations to give back to the community and provide wheelchair tennis awareness to everyone. To that end, he is working with Mike Garafola of the UCLA Adapted Sports Dept. to bring a tournament to UCLA.
If you are interested in learning more about the West Coast Wheelchair Association or becoming associated with them, Jerry Russell would love to hear from you. His contact information is: by email: email@example.com, by phone: 818-429-4435. Their website is: www.wcwta.org.
Mike Yousefi, Sportsmanship Winner
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