CICT awarding one of the professionals a new sports wheelchair ©CICT

Two shipping companies, Colombo International Container Terminals (CICT) and its parent company, China Merchants Group (CMG), have donated custom wheelchairs to three of Sri Lanka's top wheelchair tennis players.

It is part of CICT's continuing support to the Wheelchair Tennis Programme of the Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA) and has given the three professionals titanium chairs.

These will go to D.S.R. Dharmasena, world number 62 in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) rankings, Dissanayake Gamini, world number 82 and Suresh Ranaweera, ranked 101st in the ITF standings.

All three are veterans of the Sri Lanka Army and became para-athletes after sustaining injuries in the civil war in the north of the nation.

The donation of the wheelchairs cost a reported $9,000 (£7,200/€8,000) and a ceremony for the handover was given at the SLTA, according to Adaderanabiz.

The funds were channelled through CGM's Charitable Foundation (CMCF).

CICT meeting with some of Sri Lanka's best wheelchair tennis players ©CICT
CICT meeting with some of Sri Lanka's best wheelchair tennis players ©CICT

Speaking of the donation, CICT chief executive Jack Huang said: "At CICT we have always believed in contributing generously to worthy causes in Sri Lanka, and the development of wheelchair tennis is one of our ongoing commitments.

"Our support to the SLTA has not only enriched the lives of differently-abled sportsmen and women, it has enabled them to bring glory to themselves and the country at international tournaments."

CMCF and CICT have donated a total of $161,000 (£129,000/€143,000) to the SLTA's Wheelchair Tennis Programme between 2015 and 2019 and have become the main sponsor for Sri Lankan wheelchair tennis, with the nation now ranked among the top 40 countries in the world in the sport.

In 2016, CICT also funded the refurbishment of two international standard hard surface courts at the SLTA to develop the sport in the country.

SLTA's Wheelchair Tennis Programme started in 2003 as a rehabilitation for soldiers and now there are 13 wheelchair tennis players from Sri Lanka who have secured international rankings.