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Born on 28 November 1964, Sint-Oedenrode (NB), The Netherlands

As a child Monique had a dream to become a top athlete and sports teacher. At the age of five she found an old wooden tennis racket at her parents attic and asked her mother: "Mommy, may I play tennis"
Her mother answered: "Try it first, then we'll see."
For one week she was practicing until her brother made fun of her: "That spanner doesn't belong on the racket while you're playing, it's only to keep the racket straight when it's not in use."
Who knows Monique has put strength out of that for her later tennis successes.
She became super sporting: hockey, tennis, horseback riding,

waterpolo and sailing. But in hockey she excelled until at the age of fourteen a tumor was ending her dream to become a top sportswoman or sports teacher.
Her hockey coach wrote to her: "You where top scorer, even if your efforts where not 100%." Monique thought she gave 200%... A month later the tumor was diagnosed.

Through cancer (consequence: paralysis from her waist down) Monique revised her dreams, fitting to her life as a wheelchair user.
In 1984 she became a Paralympic champion in table tennis and switched to wheelchair tennis in 1986. From 1992 to 1996 she won three Paralympic medals and four world championships in wheelchair tennis. She became the first and only female athlete in two different individual sports winning golden Paralympic medals.

Instead of becoming a sports teacher, she became an ambassador and eventually she gained a European management position with her existing sponsor Sunrise Medical, manufacturer of amongst other things equipment for people with disabilities. As part of that international job Monique was living in the UK for six years and moved back to The Netherlands in 2003.
Because of cancer and by chemo therapy caused early menopause symptoms, Monique's chances of becoming a mother appeared to be insignificant but in 2000 her son Justin was born.

In the meantime living and working in The Netherlands, Monique says it's time for new challenges. Since August 1th 2007 she's working as Manager Innovation and Participation at Welzorg, the largest supplier of equipment for people with disabilities in the Netherlands.



Monique Kalkman |