Wheelchair tennis players have arrivedPOSTED: 11/25/12 8:24 PM
St. Maarten – Eight of the twelve world ranked wheelchair tennis players and members of their extended families received a warm welcome when they touched down at the Princess Juliana International Airport yesterday ahead of the start of awareness week for the physically challenged which will conclude on Saturday December 2.
President of the Be Able Committee Henri Brookson, secretary Bregje Boetekees and treasurer Michel Soons and William Barendsen were among the group that welcomed the visitors in the Living room Bar & Lounge after they had booked into their respective rooms at the Sonesta Great Bay Beach hotel where the plans for the weeks of activities were outlined.
There was a degree of enthusiasm among the visitors who are here for the first time, but after listening to Brookson, it was evident that they were all looking forward to the events on the extremely packed schedule which will begin this morning at 8.30 with a march from the Sonesta Great Bay to the heart of Philipsburg.
“Your visit here will create more awareness for the physically challenged on this island. When you look at the hills, you would understand the challenges. We want to improve the life for those people and our committee Be Able will keep it positive,” Brookson said.
Brookson could not refrain from pointing out that all of the players have faced challenges and that was the reason why they were invited here. But in addition to the highly anticipated matches which will begin on Monday afternoon at 4.00pm, the visitors will be making visits to schools where they will have power point sessions and invite questions.
According to Brookson, about 600 kids from various schools will participate in the early morning march which is expected to gain lots of attention as they go along Front Street.
Sunday will begin with a church service at 8.30am and that will be followed by a beach party at the Buccaneer Bar in Simpson Bay. On Monday, Esther Vergeer and Sharon Walraven will visit the MPC school from 09.00 to 10.00, Michael Jermiasz and Tom Egberink will visit St Dominic between 09.30 and 10.00, Gordon Reid, Jiske Griffioen will visit Sr Magda between 08.30 and 09.30 and Mr Parks, the founder of Wheelchair Tennis will join Kaitlyn Verfuerth at the Learning Unlimited from 10.00 to 11.00am.
The tournament will start with an opening ceremonyat the Princess Port de Plaisance at 3.00pm followed by the first set of games at 4.00pm and the school visits will continue on Tuesday morning with Walraven and Ben Weekes visiting the Sundial school from 09.00 to 10.00 and Sabine Ellerbrock will be joined by Stephane Houdet at the Sr Borgia school from 08.30 to 09.30.
On Tuesday afternoon, the visitors will pay a visit to the office of the Governor of Country St Maarten, Dr’s Eugene Holiday at 11.00 and the matches will continue after that. On Wednesday, Dani Caverzaschi and Tom Egberink will visit the Christian Hillside School from 09.00 to 10.00. Griffioen and Anick van Koot will visit the Sr Marie Laurence from 09.00 to 10.00, Griffioen and Caverzaschi will visit Sr Regina from 09.30 to 10.00 and after the games, at 6.pm, parks, Jeremiasz, Houdet, Vergeer and Koot will visit the French side of the island.
Thursday will be a day for the visitors to relax and that will start with a boat trip, but on Friday, the school visits will continue with Reid and Weekes visiting the St Dominic from 09.00 to 10.00, Ellerbrock and Verfuerth will visit the Seventh Day Adventist church opposite the Tropicana Casino from 10.00 to 11.00.
On the competitive side, the players have been divided into two pools, in pool A (male), the players are Houdet, Caverzaschi and Egberink and in pool B the players are Jermiasz, Reid and Weekes.
In pool A female, the players are Vergeer, Griffioen and Verfuerth in pool B the players are Koot, Ellerbrock and Waklraven. In the mixed doubles pool A, the players are Ellerbrock & Houdet, Koot & Weekes and Walraven & Reid. In the mixed doubles pool B, the players are Verfuerth & Jermiasz, Vergeer & Caverzaschi and Griffioen & Egberink.
Vergeer vs Griffioen on court one on Monday at 16.00 hours. Jeremiasz vs Weekes on court 2/ Egberink vs Caverzasci on court 3 and Koot vs Walraven on court 4. The daily schedule of the rest of matches will be published in the days before the actual matchups.
The finals in the mixed doubles will take place on Friday and the male and female singles finals will take place on Saturday morning. For those that turn up to witness those matches, it will be a event they will never forget. It’s free of charge.