Wheelchair tennis participant able to shine for US at Paralympics

Competing within the Paralympics was all the time a dream for Casey Ratzlaff — and now it is turn into a actuality.

After 10 years of enjoying wheelchair tennis, Ratzlaff will compete on the upcoming Paralympic Video games in Tokyo in each males’s singles and doubles.

“I am tremendous excited. It should be the top of all the things I’ve labored for in my tennis profession up to now,” Ratzlaff mentioned.

Ratzlaff was born with spina bifida however by no means let his incapacity cease him. Ranked twenty third on the planet, Ratzlaff leaves for Tokyo on Friday.

“I by no means checked out myself like I used to be lower than or disabled,” Ratzlaff mentioned. “I knew I used to be totally different, however I by no means seen myself as lower than.”

Ratzlaff first picked up a tennis racket on the age of 12, and whereas he used crutches and a walker as a baby, he started utilizing a wheelchair full-time when he reached highschool.

“Once I met him, he did not even know how one can push himself round in a wheelchair,” mentioned Jeff Clark, Ratzlaff’s former coach and mentor.

Ten years after he picked up the game, and with the assistance of his coaches, Ratzlaff can name himself a Paralympian.

“With or with out a wheelchair, what he can do with a racket is unimaginable,” Jeff Clark, Ratzlaff’s former coach, mentioned.

As he prepares for Tokyo, Ratzlaff has a message for youngsters of all skills.

“Do not be afraid to step out of your consolation zone and push your limits,” Ratzlaff mentioned.

The Tokyo Paralympics start Aug. 24 and run via Sept. 5.

This story was initially revealed by McKenzie Nelson on Scripps station KSHB in Kansas Metropolis, Missouri.

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