Joshua – My Story
My name is Joshua and I have Right Sided Hemiplegia (Cerebral Palsy) and Epilepsy and I have always had a huge love of sport. I started playing football when I was 5 years old, and eventually made it into the FA CP East Midlands Regional Talent Centre, but although I loved to play I did not see my future in football. I also did mainstream Judo for 4 years grading up to Orange belt, and although I really enjoyed the training I started to struggle to compete with my able bodied friends.
Where it all began
Then just over a year ago we visited the Wheelchair Tennis British Open at Nottingham, and was kindly offered the chance to have a try with a joint Cerebral Palsy Sport / Tennis Foundation event and I haven’t looked back since!
I now play Wheelchair Tennis 4 times a week, training twice a week at Loughborough University, once a week at Nottingham Tennis Centre, and once a week at Ilkeston Tennis Club, plus travelling to various training camps around the country. There is no doubt it has become my life’s passion! Given the chance I would play everyday! I am able on my feet and do not use a wheelchair at any other time, but due to my CP I would never be able to excel in mainstream standing tennis which is why I am able to compete in a chair.
Although very new to Wheelchair Tennis I have already enjoyed some success, and in my first tournament held at Loughborough in March 2016 I won the doubles title with my good friend Dahnon, who I had met some years previously when playing disability football with Derby County Community Trust.
This summer I took part in 2 major events, first was the British Open held in Nottingham (the same tournament where I was introduced to the sport just a year ago), where the junior section was held on the same days as the international senior tour, so I was rubbing shoulders with the likes of Wimbledon and Paralympic champions Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid. Although I lost my first match I then went on to win the consolation boys title.
Then in September I represented England in this year’s National School Games, held at Loughborough University. This is a huge event with approximately 1900 of the UK’s elite athletes taking part in various sports over 3 days. Having only just turned 12 at the end of July I only just crept into eligibility, so would have been one of the youngest participants on site, as the age limit was 18. Although I won no medals, the experience was incredible, having to live away from home and compete in an Olympic (or Paralympic) environment.
I am to keep training as hard as I can, continue to improve my game, and start to win tournaments and eventually get selected for the Wheelchair Tennis Futures Programme, where my development will be pushed even more. Ultimately my dream is to one day represent Great Britain in the Paralympics and compete in the Grand Slams.
You can follow my progress on social media: –
Facebook: Joshua Johns Wheelchair Tennis
Thank you for taking the time to read my story!