Wichita athlete feeling impact of postponed 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games

Local Sports

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Professional Wheelchair Tennis player Casey Ratzlaff is used to challenges, but these days he is having to become comfortable with new routines includes waiting another year for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.

Now training at Sedgwick County Park instead of the Wichita State facilities since the school closed because of COVID-19, he often finds himself having to wait for time to play.

“It can be hard to find a court,” says Raztlaff, who thought he was preparing for this year’s games. The games, along with the Olympics, were moved this week to 2021.

Ratzlaff has been training for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics but saw his dreams of getting to the games interrupted on what should have been a day to celebrate. On the same day, the professional player moved up the ranks to 20th in the world he also learned the rest of his season would be suspended due to the coronavirus.

“It’s really unfortunate that these things are happening, but it was definitely the right decision at the right time,” says Ratzlaff.

Practice for Ratzlaff might be modified for now, but his coach Justin DeSanto is finding other ways to help his athlete train and stay in shape.

“Okay, let’s break out the medicine ball and start fitness,” says DeSanto.

“We do some fitness or we go push up a hill,” DeSanto says. “That’s one of Casey’s things. We’ll find a good hill, and we’ll push up it. Pushing up that forwards, backwards, so we make it work. And then when the court opens, we run out and grab it.”

And though Ratzlaff’s dreams are put on pause, he sees this as a time to stay healthy and become stronger.

“It’s just an opportunity to work and get better and improve,” Raztlaff says.

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