The latest in the Grass Roots-Sheffield City Trust series - Ones to watch for Rio - WILL BAYLEY.
He was one of the stars of the London 2012 Paralympic Games and even featured on Channel Four’s adverts for the Games – but table tennis sensation Will Bayley still wants more.
Will, 27, was born in Poole and brought up in Tunbridge Wells, but has trained with the GB Para Table Tennis Team at The English Institute of Sport Sheffield (EISS) for five years, where he was unveiled on the venue’s Hall of Champions earlier this year – in the process becoming the first ever Paralympian to be inducted.
At the start of the 2014 season he was World No 2, and he won gold at the Lignano Master Open in Italy in the build-up to the 2014 World Championships in China.
Will stormed to the title by beating Paralympic champion Jochem Wollmert, 2013 European Champion Mykhaylo Popov and World number one Maksym Nikolenko on his way to becoming world champion.
“To win the World Championship was one of my dreams. I’d worked all my life to get to that moment where I was able to say I’m the best in the world,” he said.
“Becoming World Champion and winning a silver medal at London 2012 are of course the highlights of my career so far but I still have a lot more I want to achieve.”
Will regained the World No 1 ranking in June this year and his focus is now on success at the Paralympic Games in Rio next year.
He said: “I would love nothing more than to bring a Paralympic gold medal back from Rio next year.”
And he paid tribute to the EIS: “It is a truly world-class facility and being able to train here with the GB team has undoubtedly helped my career.”