Ruby's plea to city as Paralympic dream hangs in the balance

Ruby Bishop, from Sprowston, is worried her dream of participating in the Paralympics could be in jeopardy. 

Ruby Bishop, from Sprowston, is worried her dream of participating in the Paralympics could be in jeopardy. - Credit: Ruby Bishop

A city tennis star's dream of competing in the Paralympic games has been cast into doubt after a fundraiser generated just £130 of the £2,500 needed.

Ruby Bishop, who made her Team GB debut back in May, turned to sponsors to raise cash for an upgraded bespoke wheelchair.

The 18-year-old needs the equipment if she's to get her dream ticket to the 2024 Paris Summer Paralympics.

The Sprowston tennis ace hoped she was on her way to success after a raffle saw likes of US Open winner Emma Raducanu donate items for the draw. 

And even though Suffolk company SunSkips has already donated £5,000 towards the £7,500 chair, just £130 of the remaining total was raised by the raffle.

Norwich wheelchair tennis athlete Ruby Bishop in action.

Norwich wheelchair tennis athlete Ruby Bishop in action. - Credit: Tennis Foundation

The heartbroken sportswoman said: "Having a chair made to measure is so important for my game - probably the most important aspect.

"This wheelchair would allow me to progress in upcoming tournaments.

"The next big tournament for me is the US Open in September - which is when I was hoping to have the chair for. I'm not sure if this will happen now."

Ruby Bishop, 18, is looking for sponsors to help her pay for a new sports wheelchair.

Ruby Bishop, 18, is looking for sponsors to help her pay for a new sports wheelchair. - Credit: Ruby Bishop

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Ruby's parents got her first sports wheelchair five years ago for around £3,500.

Ruby added: "Unfortunately the raffle didn't get enough money but there's not much left to raise.

Ruby Bishop, who attended Sprowston Community Academy, is participating in her first senior tennis match with team GB.

Ruby Bishop, who attended Sprowston Community Academy, is participating in her first senior tennis match with Team GB. - Credit: LTA

"If I could get another sponsor to help me achieve my dream it would mean the world.

"Every disabled kid in sports looks at the Paralympic games - it's a massive goal for me and I'm so close to getting there.

"But having the right equipment determines whether you can play or not."

Ruby Bishop

Ruby Bishop - Credit: Contributed

She added: "That's the sad thing about it all. I need a chair which is faster, lighter and more manoeuvrable than my current chair to perform at the highest level - but it costs thousands of pounds.

"You need to have the best equipment to put yourself in the best position to win."

Unfortunately Ruby's raffle has now closed but should anyone like to support the cause, email rubyb2813@gmail.com or find Ruby on Twitter @RubyBishop_.

Taking inspiration

Ruby will be hoping to follow the meteoric rise of Alfie Hewett.

Alfie, born in Cantley, is currently the number one in the world in wheelchair tennis men's doubles and world number two in men's singles.

He's also recently cemented his place in history having made it to both the Wimbledon singles and doubles finals.

The city star turned professional back in 2015 and it didn't take long for him to make a name for himself on the world stage.

Great Britain's Alfie Hewett reacts during the Men's Doubles Gold Medal Match.

Great Britain's Alfie Hewett reacts during the Men's Doubles Gold Medal Match at the Ariake Tennis Park during day ten of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Japan. - Credit: PA

He won his first grand slam at the Wimbledon wheelchair men's doubles in 2016, alongside partner Gordon Reid.

The 24-year-old has gone on to dominate his categories, becoming a 19-time grand slam champion, winning five titles in singles, and fourteen in doubles.

After attending Acle High School, Alfie went on to study sport and exercise science at City College Norwich.

Unfortunately for Alfie he lost to Shingo Kunieda in the men's wheelchair singles final at Wimbledon on July 10 but is sure to be back to clinch the trophy.