The Tokyo 2020 Paralympics are just around the corner and Niels Vink is well on his way to participating. He just needs to win a few more international wheelchair tennis tournaments and raise enough money to get there.
Competitive youth sports aren’t cheap. Participating in competitions that give olympic qualifications is even more expensive and requires a lot of travel. Luckily for Niels, his family and friends turned to crowdfunding to help him get there. When Niels got serious about wheelchair tennis, they started the Niels on Wheels foundation and began seeking the best training.
This is the story of how one courageous teenager is achieving his dream of competing in the paralympics and using GiveWP to help him get there.
Who is Niels Vink?
Niels was born in December of 2002. At the age of one, he came down with meningococcal sepsis (a bacterial infection) and nearly died. He lost both of his legs, fingertips and various patches of skin as a result. Growing up, he felt no different than all the other kids and remained positive about the possibilities his future holds.
When he was nine, his mom took him to the 2012 paralympics in London. Surrounded by athletes bound to wheelchairs just like him, he knew his dream was to participate. Sports are Niels’ passion and a lack of limbs would not stop him from playing.
Now Niels attends Dr. Knippenbergcollege, a local high school in Helmond, Netherlands, and is in the process of achieving his dream. He tried several other paralympic sports before he fell in love with wheelchair tennis. Niels receives the best training in the Netherlands from the KNLTB, a national tennis club and his own personal trainer.
The Road to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics
For the past four years, Niels has trained intensely on a daily basis. His hard work has earned him a position of 12th (at the time of writing) in the world in the Quad Category. Only the top eight will go on to the 2020 paralympics so he needs to keep climbing the ranks. The only way for Niels to get there is to participate in more international tournaments.
Last year in December, Niels won the junior world championship for wheelchair tennis in Tarbes, France. His next few tournaments are in a variety of places across Europe and in Australia.
Even after he competes successfully in these tournaments, Niels still needs to fund his trip to Tokyo. The overall cost of this adventure to the paralympics is estimated to cost about €30,000.00.
“This money is used on travel fees to all the different international tournaments Niels has to join to climb the rankings, and also on training materials and preparations. Once Niels on Wheels raises more than the goal, the foundation will use that money to support people like Niels to chase their dreams.”
Since 2017, when the campaign began, Niels has raised €16,620.00. Overall, it’s an impressive result! We’re inspired by the passion Niels has for tennis and his plan to help others once he reaches his own goal.
A Fundraising Website for a Paralympic Competitor
Mediacooks donated a website to Niels on Wheels to help collect funds online in 2017. They use GiveWP for online donations through WordPress and a plugin called Weglot to translate their site from Dutch to English.
Now the site is more accessible to people from all over the world, which makes it easier for more people to read Niels’ story and donate.
Help Niels Become the Next Wheelchair Tennis Champion at the Paralympics
2020 in Tokyo is hardly over a year away. Niels is close to getting there, but he needs your help. Read his story, learn about his mission, and give to his cause on the Niels on Wheels website.