It is mainly when David comes home to visit that little known sports channels appear. This was what happened yesterday afternoon and I was introduced to Lucas Sithole. There he was on the tennis court, in his wheel chair taking on the number 1 American wheel chair player David Wagner. But David Wagner, while being wheelchair bound has an added advantage over Lucas. David has both arms. Lucas only has the use of one.
At the age of 12, Lucas fell under a train and in that horrific accident, he lost both legs and one arm just below the elbow. A long and painful recovery followed. According to interviews, Lucas doesn’t want to dwell on his pre-accident past. Preferring to focus on a very rosy future, he focusses on a blossoming tennis career, a new bride (he married in December 2014) and a young son.
He is now a professional tennis player, representing South Africa in all corners of the globe. What is remarkable is that he only started playing tennis 10 years ago. In 2006, he found himself in his first international wheelchair match in the Netherlands. He lost 6-0, 6-0 in the first round. But with a determination second to none, competitive tenacity and endless practice, Lucas has risen to become a dominant force in the wheelchair tennis circuit. What sets him apart as nothing less than remarkable is that he has to both toss the ball and hit it with his left hand. Have you tried that lately? Hold a tennis racquet in your left hand, with the ball. Throw the ball up, with racquet in hand and then hit it and get it in!
Yesterday he found himself up against his biggest rival David Wagner at the SA ACSA Wheelchair finals. The last two ACSA finals have gone to Wagner and Lucas was determined to win and keep the trophy on SA soil. Going down the first set was not in the plan, but Lucas came back to win the next two sets and triumphantly celebrated a great victory not only for himself but for South Africa as well.
He has every right to be happy….he lost to David Wagner in the 2012 Paralympics in London. He’s sure to be back next year in Rio.
You can watch a documentary of his story by ENCA, made in 2012.
Lucas brings a story of hope and inspiration. Regardless of what our lives are like, we can actually do anything with them. The choice is ours. I’m sure Lucas would have liked to crawl into a ball and not face the hurdles ahead. But he didn’t. He chose to try and in doing so, he has been successful. I’m sure when he lost 6-0,6-0 in the Netherlands 9 years ago, he was ready to give up. But he didn’t. He is now seeing the fruit of his labour. Very few things happen without hard work and determination. Whatever you want to do, seek God’s will for your life and with the right motives, go for it.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
Keep the smile going. In a world with so many bad things happen, stay positive.
God bless you!
In His Grip,