Double Paralympic gold medallist Peter Norfolk and Halesowen's 17-year-old world junior number one Jordanne Whiley will head the Great Britain challenge in next week's Invacare Wheelchair Tennis World Team Cup in Nottingham.

The event, the wheelchair sport's equivalent of the Davis or Federation Cups, has attracted entries from over 50 countries and is considered easily the biggest team event in the game.

And for both the 48-year-old Norfolk and the fast-emerging Whiley, it is the latest stop on a journey which they both admit they dream of culminating in a gold medal in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London.

Norfolk, a winner in both Athens and Beijing, admits he may have considered his top-level future after his success in the Chinese capital had he had had the lure of competing in a Games at home.

"2012 is the be-all and the end-all,'' said Norfolk. "It's the chance to win the biggest tournament in your own back yard. I can't even begin to imagine what it will feel like to win there.

"I've just got a young son and perhaps I wouldn't have carried on with the same enthusiasm - perhaps not at all. But London means retirement isn't an option. It will sustain the drive for another four years at least.''

Norfolk, whose company, EPC wheelchairs, designs and builds bespoke chairs for top Paralympic athletes, has been around long enough to see the gradual improvement of his sport in this country.

Athletes such as Whiley are now full-time professionals and the teenager admits that having taken the gamble of quitting a speech therapy course to concentrate solely on tennis, she has set her sights high.

"This is my first full year in the seniors and I want to end it in the top 15 in the world,'' said Whiley. ''Then from there top 10 and top five, and for the Paralympics maybe the top three.

"I want a medal. That's why I make the sacrifices of not going out with my friends like other 17-year-olds do. The medal means everything and it is all going to be worth it in the end.''

Whiley, who first started playing tennis at the age of two, comes from good Paralympic stock. Her father Keith represented Great Britain on the track at the 1984 Paralympics, winning a bronze medal.

Whiley added: "I'm so competitive that I see my dad's bronze and all I think is how I want to do better. It's another reason to win gold - so I can bring it home and rub it in his face!''

Norfolk has been following Whiley's progress with interest and hopes more young players will use the prospect of 2012 to stay in the sport rather than falling by the wayside like so much talent in the past.

"The game, especially the women's game, can often stagnate at a certain point and it is our job to keep the young players interested and push them further up the rankings.

"We've got to teach them to have the commitment and the will to win. They're only teenagers and often they want to be somewhere else. But the success of players like Jordanne, and the prospect of London, can only help.''

The 25th annual World Team Cup starts at the Nottingham Tennis Centre on Monday, July 27th

Stumble ThisFav This With TechnoratiAdd To Del.icio.usDigg ThisAdd To RedditAdd To FacebookAdd To Yahoo