Will Bayley and Rob Davies headline 13-strong GB Paralympic table tennis squad

Will Bayley is one of two defending Paralympic champions in Great Britain's squad for Tokyo (PA Archive)
10:34am, Fri 16 Jul 2021
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Defending Paralympic champions Will Bayley and Rob Davies have been named in Great Britain’s 13-person table tennis squad for this summer’s Games in Tokyo.

Ross Wilson and Aaron McKibbin, who won bronze in the men’s class 6-8 team event alongside Bayley at Rio 2016, have also been included.

Bayley was involved in one of the stand-out moments of the Games in Brazil five years ago when he stood on the table arms aloft following his dramatic victory over home favourite Israel Pereira Stroh.

The 33-year-old required a knee reconstruction last year after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament while in rehearsals for the TV show Strictly Come Dancing in October 2019.

“It means everything to me to compete for my country – to represent GB is what I live for and what I train for every day, I get an extra bit of energy and drive to go for these moments because I know these chances don’t come around very often,” he said in a statement.

“I’m playing the best table tennis of my career so I know this is a great opportunity for me and I want to show people what I can do.

“I feel that I’ve got a lot to prove as an athlete – I still don’t feel I have achieved everything I can achieve so I’m excited to try and do that.”

Will Bayley suffered injury while appearing on Strictly Come Dancing (PA Media)

Sue Bailey, formerly Gilroy, will compete at her sixth Games, while Paul Karabardak, David Wetherill, Ashley Facey Thompson and Jack Hunter-Spivey are also returning Paralympians.

Debutants Tom Matthews, Megan Shackleton, Billy Shilton and Joshua Stacey complete the squad.

Table tennis team leader Gorazd Vecko said: “After all the challenges of the last 18 months, I am so proud that we have 13 athletes selected to represent ParalympicsGB in Tokyo.

“Our athletes have been training hard and we are fully focused on making the country proud in Tokyo.”

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