IM this article to a friend!

April 8, 2004


From: Scunthorpe Evening Telegraph - Scunthorpe,England,UK - Apr 8, 2004

A Scunthorpe tennis player is celebrating even more success, after being hailed the Sportswoman of the Year in this year's npower Active Sports Awards.

The award was sponsored by the energy and essential home services provider for Yorkshire, and organised by the Federation of Disability Sports Organisations (FDSO). Catherine Graham scooped the accolade at the annual awards ceremony at Elland Road in Leeds for her performance in tennis.

A student at Leeds Metropolitan University, she is ranked third in the world for Deaf Tennis and is the British number one. And now she is hoping to qualify for the Deaflympics in Melbourne next year.

Kevin Rodgers, npower's community relations manager for the Yorkshire region, said: "npower has hundreds of staff and thousands of customers in the area, and we want to help with what's important to them.

"As the favoured energy supplier to the region, npower rewards customers in its communities who are creative with their energies too!

"Although Catherine is a deserving winner, every nominee demonstrated excellent athletic ability, and they all remain an inspiration to others.

"I look forward to seeing them carry on the good work over the next year."

Regional manager for the FDSO, Kevan Halliday-Brown, explained npower's support enabled them to offer a wide range of sporting events for people with disabilities.

"These awards give us the opportunity to recognise and thank those people who have made outstanding contributions through participation, coaching or support to disability sports."

Catherine, who has been deaf since birth, and who celebrated her 21st birthday this week, is in the third year of her studies working towards a BSc honours degree in sport and exercise science.

At home with her family in Yaddlethorpe for the Easter holidays, Catherine is busy working on the dissertation for her degree.

Her mother, Jill, described her daughter's initial interest in tennis as 'just one of those things'.

"She used to go dancing on a Saturday morning and then she saw an advert in the paper for tennis and decided to give it a try.

"From there she was selected for the county trials and it went on from there really. She still plays for Lincolnshire Ladies.

"In fact most of her tennis is played with hearing people in Lawn Tennis Association tournaments."

Catherine will also be involved in the annual National Deaf Tennis Championships at the end of May, and will be going to the European championships in July.

A former Bottesford Infant and Junior School pupil, Catherine continued her education at Frederick Gough before going on to John Leggott and now university.

Her mother explained Catherine won a scholarship at Leeds Metropolitan University for her tennis and this had enabled her to have weekly and sometimes twice-weekly coaching sessions at the tennis centre on the campus.

"The fact the university had a tennis centre was one of the main reasons why Catherine wanted to go to Leeds, and the scholarship also sees her able to work with a sports mentor to help her balance academic studies and tennis."

It was a tennis tournament in Nottingham which prevented Catherine from attending the npower awards ceremony in Leeds, but she has since collected her cut glass rose bowl, which is now displayed with the rest of her well-earned trophies.

© Northcliffe Electronic Publishing Ltd.