LA teen honored for volunteer work with local wheelchair tennis program

Chuck Revell/Special to the Town Crier
Ryan Kawahara, right, receives the Outstanding Wheelchair Tennis Volunteer Award from Steve Leube, center, and Michael Yousefi.

Los Altos teen Ryan Kawahara recently received the 2017 Outstanding Wheelchair Tennis Volunteer Award from the United States Tennis Association, Northern California.

The award recognizes the volunteer who has gone above and beyond to support wheelchair tennis.

Wheelchair Committee Co-Chairman Michael Yousefi and USTA NorCal Executive Director Steve Leube presented the award to Kawahara during the 2018 Awards Celebrating Excellence in Service luncheon Feb. 11.

The St. Francis High tennis player volunteers with the South Bay Smash Wheelchair Tennis Team. He recruits volunteer hitting partners and leads drills.

“Ryan has been a tremendous help by being a great hitting partner for members of the team,” Yousefi said at the luncheon. “He also has shown leadership skills by inviting his high school teammates to our practices, also providing great hitting partners,”

Kawahara recruited volunteer doubles partners for the 2017 Silicon Valley Up/Down Tournament at Rengstorff Park, where wheelchair players teamed with able-bodied players last fall.

Wheelchair players use the same size courts, balls and rackets as able-bodied players. The only difference in the rules is that wheelchair players are allowed two bounces to return the ball.

“The wheelchair players are amazing athletes,” Kawahara said. “It’s a lot of fun to play doubles with them. I’m looking forward to working with them during the upcoming season.”

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