Johannesburg - South African wheelchair tennis quad player and coach, Bongani Dlamini, from Umlazi in KwaZulu-Natal has died aged 36 after a short illness.
Dlamini, who was diagnosed with meningitis and tuberculosis three weeks ago, lost his battle at Prince Msiyeni Hospital on Saturday, family member Mduduzi Dlamini confirmed.
The 36-year-old is the second SA wheelchair tennis player to have died from meningitis following the passing of former world No 2 junior Thando Hlatswayo in 2016.
Dlamini represented South Africa in the BNP Paribas World Team Cups in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016.
During a 7-year professional career, Dlamini won 13 singles titles and reached a career-high No 14 in the singles rankings in 2014.
Some of his major achievements include scooping the 2015 Bucharest Open in Europe and winning the 2016 EZMED Arizona Open quads singles title in Tucson, United States.
His last tournament was the 2017 Soweto Open staged at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Centre in Soweto where he was a runner-up after losing a hard-fought final against Danny Mohlamonyane in the quad singles event.
Wheelchair Tennis South Africa (WTSA) Manager Karen Losch said, “We have lost another giant, and words simply cannot express how saddened we are by this news about Bongani’s passing.
“He was a talented and determined player. We have special memories to cherish, but this leaves a gaping hole for everyone at WTSA.
“All our thoughts and prayers are with the Dlamini and WTSA family during this tough time, may the soul of our champ rest in eternal peace!”
Details of the funeral were not yet available, but the family confirmed that the tennis ace will be buried in Umzimkhulu, KwaZulu-Natal.