An inspirational boy from Chalfont St Peter, who was diagnosed as deaf at just three years old has defied the odds to become an accomplished tennis player.
Zachary Allen, now 11, was diagnosed as deaf when he was a toddler and was later given cochlear implants in a bid to aid his speech perception, hearing and overall quality of life, but like all children of his age he wanted to take part in sports.
Zach attends mainstream school, but in sport there were bigger challenges.
His mum, Kirsty, says Zach was turned away by swimming pools because of fears that he wouldn’t be able to hear an emergency whistle.
She said: “We decided to try something else and went along to a deaf tennis day run by local audiologists, Aston Hearing, but were unsure whether Zach would be interested. We ended up staying the whole four hours as he loved it.”
Zach now plays tennis in a class and the coach wears a mini-mic meaning Zach can always hear exactly what he needs to.
Zach said: “Learning to play tennis has been incredible. When you are deaf it’s hard because you just want to be like everyone else, but tennis makes me feel much more confident and I have made some good friends.
“I like to play doubles because when I miss the ball there’s someone else to hit it.
“Lots of my friends like tennis as well so it’s nice to have something else in common. My current aim is to play doubles at Wimbledon.”
Zach’s tennis coach, Peter Lavery said: “Zach enjoys playing tennis with other children and his ability to play tennis has improved a lot. He’s recently mastered overarm serving and is getting more accurate with placing his shots. He is a great kid.”
For more on the aid that helps Zach play tennis visit www.astonhearing.co.uk