Paralympians' Club

Mark Eccleston

In 1986, at the age of 16, Mark had just left school having successfully completed his O levels and was looking towards a successful rugby league career.

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However, in the summer of 1986 Mark was involved in an accident in which he severed his spinal cord, resulting in tetraplegia. During his seven month stay in hospital he was introduced to wheelchairs sports as part of his rehabilitation.

On leaving hospital he won gold in table tennis at the 1987 National Wheelchair Games. It was here where he was first introduced to the sport of Wheelchair Rugby, which soon became his passion.

In 1992 he captained Southport to the National Title and between 1992 and 1996 he captained Great Britain in two International Games Finals and competed at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics. He was also the first British player to play a season in America when he signed for Tampa in 1994. After Atlanta Mark felt he needed a new challenge so took up wheelchair tennis. He has since won seven National titles and in 2002 became the first British player ever, at any level, to be No.1 on the Singles World Ranking. He was also the first British player ever to be No.1 on the Doubles World ranking.

Mark was a member of the first British team ever to win the World Team Cup (Davis Cup of wheelchair tennis) and he went on to win a silver medal at the 2004 Athens Paralympics with doubles partner Peter Norfolk (pictured left). After Athens Mark retired from competing and took his LTA tennis coaching Qualification and in January 2006 became the first tetraplegic to qualify as a tennis coach.

He now delivers P.E. in a school for children with complex physical and medical needs and is also the Disability Sport Development Officer for Halton.

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