Paralympic champion Will Bayley’s stay on Strictly Come Dancing may be over because of injury, but if he’s inspired you to want to try table tennis then look no further…
Table tennis is a truly inclusive sport that can be played by anyone, anywhere. Its accessibility lies in its adaptability for a variety of ability levels and disabilities.
For this reason, it is one of the most popular sports among people with disabilities – particularly for wheelchair users – and is attracting an increasing number of followers and players worldwide.
How to get started in table tennis:
Children aged 7-11
TT Kidz is a fun eight-week programme that introduces table tennis to 7-to-11-year-olds. Sessions are taking place all over the country – and they start in just two weeks time! Click here to find your nearest TT Kidz programme.
You can find our table tennis tables in unexpected places on the streets of towns and cities all over England; to join in the fun, simply head for a table and play…it’s absolutely free! There’s loads of other ways you can play table tennis socially; just pop your postcode into our table finder map below.
Ping Pong Parlours
Ping Pong Parlours are ‘pop-up’ spaces (usually empty shop units), filled with table tennis tables to provide a fun, accessible venue for passers-by to play ping pong for free as well as creating a buzz in shopping centres and the high street. To find your nearest, click here. https://www.pingengland.co.uk/ppp/
Table tennis clubs all over the country are always looking to welcome new members of all ages and abilities – and as your confidence and ability grows with the sport, you may want to try out a competition. You can find your nearest club and contact details here.
Ping in the Community
Table Tennis packages designed to help you bring the members of your community closer together and inspire them to lead more active and sociable lifestyles, irrespective of ability, background or long-term condition. Click here to find out more about Ping in the Community.
Introduce table tennis to your workplace
Interested in introducing table tennis to your place of work? Research shows staff who make time to play are happier, healthier and more productive! Click here to visit our Loop homepage and find out how easy and affordable it is to introduce workplace table tennis!
How to get into table tennis if you have a disability
I’d suggest going to a local club first and foremost. You can visit Table Tennis England’s website to find somewhere near you. If you have already found a club you like and have started to play, just be patient. It is difficult at the beginning to get the hang of the game. You shouldn’t give up too easily.
Table Tennis England works in partnership with British Para Table Tennis to attract as many disabled players from across England as possible to experience the sport through clubs, leagues and events and to further develop the opportunities for disabled players.
To find a local club, click here.
About Will Bayley
Paralympic, world and European champion Will is 31 years old and from Tunbridge Wells. He is based in Sheffield with the British Para Table Tennis squad.
Born with arthrogryposis, a rare congenital disorder that affected all four of his limbs, Will underwent numerous operations at Great Ormond Street Hospital from the age of three months old. He returned to Great Ormond Street for chemotherapy when he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma at the age of seven and it was while recovering from cancer that his grandmother bought him a table tennis table.
He made his first strides in the sport with the Byng Hall club in Tunbridge Wells and went on to represent the Kent men’s able-bodied team. He went on to train at Bristol Table Tennis Academy and became part of the GB para team in 2006.
Since then, Will has claimed a string of medals and competed at three Paralympic Games – in Beijing, London and Rio.
Four years after taking silver in London 2012 Will realised his dream of becoming Paralympic champion in Rio and his celebration provided one of the most iconic images of the 2016 Paralympic Games as he climbed on to the table and stood with his arms outstretched.
Among his other accolades, he won gold in the European Championships in Croatia in 2011 and was voted Players’ Player of the Year. In 2014, he became world champion and went on to win the Disability Sport award at the inaugural Daily Mirror and Sport England Pride of Sport Awards.
As well as his singles gold at Rio, he added bronze in the men’s class 6-8 team event with Aaron McKibbin and Ross Wilson.
In December 2016 Will was awarded the Bill McGowran Trophy for ‘outstanding achievement in Paralympic sport by a male athlete’ by the Sports Journalists Association and he received an MBE in the New Year Honours List.
To get an insight into a day in the life of the pro player, click here.
Or to watch his gold-medal winning match in Rio, press play below.