By Parker McKenzie
Ferntree Gully Tennis Club has been nominated for a Victorian Sports Award for their all-abilities tennis program.
Launched in May 2021 with the support of Tennis Vic, Vic Sport and Knox City Council, the program offers a fun and inclusive space to encourage participants to learn to play tennis, make friends and integrate into the club.
All-abilities Tennis Club coach Mark Brodan said it was great to give everyone the opportunity to play tennis.
“It doesn’t matter what your ability is, as long as you can get out on a court and have some fun,” he said.
“It’s a really good program and something we can definitely build upon.”
Ferntree Gully Tennis Club was nominated for the Polytan Peter Norman Inclusion Award, along with Maurice Gleeson OAM from Blind Sports and Recreation Victoria, Elizabeth Gosper OAM from Inclusive Sports Training and Proud2Play and Disability Sport and Recreation Partnership.
President Paul Proctor said a lot of hard work has gone into the program and it was fantastic to receive recognition for it.
“We’ve had some incredible feedback from carers and families by giving people the opportunity to be on the court,” he said.
“It really highlights what we are trying to do down there.”
The award is named after Australian Track athlete Peter Norman, who wore a badge supporting human rights on the podium while African-American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists in a black power salute at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.
Vicsport Chairman Ron Gauci said they are delighted to recognise and celebrate the wonderful achievements of the sport and recreation community.
“The volume and, in particular, the calibre of nominations this year were a wonderful reminder of the successes throughout our industry in 2021,” he said.
“The process of judging the finalists and winners is a challenging but rewarding one and I know we are all now looking forward to honouring them at the 2021 Victorian Sport Awards in June.”
The event will be held on Wednesday 15 June at Melbourne Park, where the winner of each category will be announced.