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Athletes on Wheels - Thursday, August 11, 2016

Athletes on wheels

Carlos Roldan, tennis pro with K&C Tennis in Baton Rouge, says when he started the now-successful wheelchair tennis program in 2004, the goal was to view the players "as individual athletes and not students with disabilities…"

He says local players take part in such events as the Cajun Classic wheelchair tennis tournament, and there are "approximately 20 players at practice any given week."

Carlos says a youngster with spina bifida, Landon Maher, was "our very first player in the program. He was the most enthusiastic athlete that we had at the time. … He had the ability to lift the spirits of everyone around him. … He always had a smile on his face."

Landon died during surgery in 2008, at the age of 15. Carlos says the wheelchair tennis program has been dedicated "in loving memory" to Landon.

"I think this is the highest honor he has ever received," says Landon's mother, my daughter Tammy Anders Smith. "Still touching people…"

You can learn more about the program from Carlos at k.ctennis@hotmail.com or by calling (225) 505-6873.

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- International Tennis Federation World #1-ranked Quadriplegic player David Wagner, left, shakes hands at the net with Australia's Dylan Alcot, after beating back a challenge from the 10th-ranked Quad player for a 1-6, 7-5, 6-4 win Friday, to advance to Sunday's final at the 25th Annual Cajun Classic Wheelchair Tennis Tournament at the Paula G. Manship YMCA Tennis Center. Participants include 107 players from 17 countries, including 23 of the world’s top-10 professionals, and eleven amateurs from the Baton Rouge area.

Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-03171 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.


 

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