A WORTHING girl who was paralysed from a horrific accident has capped off a remarkable year of recovery by rocketing into the top 20 of the world’s tennis rankings.
Lauren Jones, 15, is now 17th in the under-19s world tennis rankings for girls in wheelchairs, and third in Great Britain, after she reached the final in her first world-ranking tournament, which took place in Cardiff last month.
The achievement is all the more impressive because the Durrington High School pupil started playing tennis only in March this year.
But Lauren’s mother, Sue Jones, 50, said her daughter would not be satisfied with her ranking until she was number one in the world.
Sue, of Offington Drive, Worthing, said: “We’re absolutely elated and can’t believe how far she’s come so quickly. But for Lauren, she’s not satisfied yet. “She feels she’ll be happy when she’s number one.”
Back in June 2009, Lauren was paralysed from the waist down when she fell from a tree.
But after her condition improved quickly, she was picked to attend a Great Britain tennis camp in August and has continued to impress her coaches with her mental attitude and ability to learn the game quickly.
She now trains 10 hours each week with her coach at the David Lloyd gym and fitness centre in Romany Road, Worthing, and is hoping to up that amount to compete with the world’s best, who often practise for four hours each day.
Her father, Mike Jones, 45, said: “We’re extremely proud of her determination.
“She’s got natural ability and, although she’s now paralysed from the waist down, she’s got a strong top half and is healthy apart from her disability. She’s managed to pick up tennis very quickly.”
He added: “We’re really grateful to everyone who has supported Lauren. Without their help, none of this would be possible.”