Lucas Sithole lauded on arrival home

Cape Town - Three South African wheelchair tennis stars - Lucas Sithole, Kgothatso Montjane and Evans Maripa - were lauded on Monday afternoon by Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula when they arrived at OR Tambo International Airport from the Australian Open.

Mbalula was speaking at a media briefing after the world No 3 Sithole returned from the Australian Open, where he clinched the quads doubles title with partner American David Wagner last week.

The duo defeated second seeds Andy Lapthorne (GBR) and Dylan Alcott (AUS) 6-1, 6-3 in a 1-hour battle at Melbourne Park to record Sithole’s first Grand Slam doubles title.

“Lucas Sithole continues to make our country proud demonstrating that nothing is impossible. It is for these reasons that he was honoured amongst our top South African athletes at the Sport Awards. It was not my first time to welcome Lucas at the airport and will certainly not be my last as he continues to exceed our expectations with his performance,” Mbalula said.

After commending Sithole, the Sports Minister also gave credit to the country women’s top ranked Montjane who secured two titles in Australia ahead of the Australian Open and also applauded Maripa for the hard work and representing the country with pride.

Airports Company South Africa Group Executive - Corporate Affairs Refentse Shinners said they will continue to elevate the stature of wheelchair tennis in South Africa and to fly the South African flag on the world’s most elite sporting stages.

“As Airports Company South Africa, we are very excited to be celebrating this very momentous milestone and achievement of South Africa’s top wheelchair tennis stars. This huge achievement that we are celebrating today shows what can be achieved when we all collaborate as stakeholders towards one common goal,” said Shinners.

“To Lucas Sithole, once again well done! You are an inspiration to many sportsmen and women, to many young people and to all South Africans,” added the game sponsor representative Shinners.

Lucas Sithole back after his arrival from the Australian Open at OR Tambo International Airport (Reg Caldecott)

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