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2011 Parapan American Preview

November 12, 2011 03:13 PM
Kaiser during practice
Soldan-Practice Day 2
By Jeremiah Yolkut, Special to USTA.com
GUADALAJARA, Mexico - Every four years over 20 countries from North and South America gather to compete at the Parapan American Games. The 2011 edition of this event will take place next week in one of Mexico’s most cosmopolitan cities, the centrally located Guadalajara. The large scale event is a multi-sport competition, similar to the Paralympics, but on a more regionalized scale.
Team USA will take part in their second consecutive Parapan American games after securing strong results in Brazil in 2007. The event features both singles and doubles. This year’s wheelchair tennis team is made up of two men and two women that are familiar to the US wheelchair tennis fan. The men are led by top Americans Steve Welch and Jon Rydberg, while the women will compete with top Americans Emmy Kaiser and Team USA veteran, Mackenzie Soldan.
This year’s competition will be a battle for Team USA, as many countries have continued to grow their wheelchair tennis programs over the past four years and will bring stronger competitors to this year’s event. In the men’s competition the US will likely face tough battles from Columbia, Chile, and Argentina, while the women will have to focus their attention on Chile and Colombia.
Rydberg is the only member of the delegation to return from the 2007 team and carries a gold medal in singles and silver in doubles from that event. Welch brings his own share of international Games experiences that should make him a strong candidate to medal at this event. For the women it is a first for both competitors. While Kaiser and Soldan have traveled and played together at many ITF events, neither one has ever competed at a Games of this magnitude. The women are excited to take the stage for their country and are eager to show that they are the future US medal contenders in wheelchair tennis.
The wheelchair tennis competition begins on Sunday with Rydberg’s first singles match while the rest of the Americans have day 1 off. Over the next several days the team will begin to meld as they practice at the tournament site looking to build a strong cohesive group that will help lead to success for the entire team.


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