Paralympian takes to dance floor in new Strictly line up
7th August 2019
PARALYMPIAN gold medallist Will Bayley is temporarily hanging up his table tennis paddle and putting on his dance shoes after it was announced this week that he is to be a contestant on the hit BBC TV show, Strictly Come Dancing.
The Tunbridge Wells’ table tennis champion, who won gold at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio, has been selected as one of 15 celebrities for the seventeenth series of the show.
The 31-year-old will be competing for the famous glitterball, appearing alongside hosts, Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly, and dancing legend Anton du Beke, who earlier this year hosted The Times 2019 Business Awards.
The series begins on Monday August 26 where Mr Bayley will join former Coronation Street actress, Catherine Tyldesley, BBC presenter, Mike Busell, Comedian, Chris Ramsey and former England goalkeeper, David James.
Mr Bayley, whose family live in Groombridge, was born with arthrogryposis, a condition caused by severe joint contractures and muscle weakness that affects all four of his limbs, began playing at Byng Hall Table Tennis Club in Tunbridge Wells at the age of eleven.
The former pupil from Beacon Academy in Crowborough is now ranked the world’s number one Paralympian table tennis player and is currently undergoing training for the Tokyo 2020 games.
He said: “I’m so proud to be on the show – it’s my family’s favourite.
“I have no dance experience at all, but I hope I can do well, I want to inspire people with a disability – that would mean a lot to me.”
The ambassador for disability charity Pepenbury , added: “I want to prove to people I can do this.”
Will Bayley was guest speaker at the SO Life Style Awards in 2018.