Born: 17th January 1988 (Aged 24)
Sport: Table Tennis (Paralympics Class 7)
Will was born with Arthrogryposis, a rare congenital condition that causes shortening of joint tendons and affecting all four of his limbs. His feet were splinted from birth and he had his first surgery at three months at Great Ormond Street Hospital. He was in plaster for many months, eventually walking at age three with the help of corrective boots.
Moved to Groombridge in 1993, attending St. Thomas’s School with his brother. Diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma at age eight he underwent a six month course of chemotherapy at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
He discovered a skill at table tennis when his grandmother bought him his first table while recovering from the chemotherapy. He joined the Byng Hall Table Tennis Club in Tunbridge Wells at age 12, where his skills went from strength to strength with the weekly competition, eventually competing with the able bodied players of the Kent men’s team.
Will left school at 16 to pursue a passion for acting with a theatre studies course at The Brit School for Performing Arts in Croydon, where he met Joe Stotesbury, who is with the Paralympics table tennis team. After this he went to Filton College in Bristol, where he came under the tutelage of Kevin Satchell, head of the Bristol Table Tennis Academy, and former Scottish and England International Table Tennis coach.
Will joined the Paralympics team four years ago for the Beijing Olympics, having qualified after rising through the ranks in 2006 and 2007. Along the way he picked up the bronze medal at the 2006 U.S. Open, became the National Junior Champion also in 2006, and then followed that with Gold Medals at the British Nationals, German and Italian Opens. The world number one put him out of medal contention at the Beijing Paralympics, but he has since improved his game even further, rising to be the world number 2, and picking up medals in the Slovakian, Dutch, and British Opens, and most recently a gold medal in the singles and a silver medal in the team at the European Championships in Croatia. He finished the year as the European Players Player of 2011.
Will is currently training full time for the 2012 London Paralympic Games with the Paralympic team at the Sports Institute of England in Sheffield and the year could not of got off to a better start with Will being crowned the World Number 1 in Class 7 in the latest world ranking lists in January. Continuing on from this success Will competed in the English National Championships disability event in March 2012 and won the whole event. Will has now started his international season of competitions.
To keep up to date with Will’s progress visit www.willbayleytt.com or follow him on twitter @WillBayleytt
Born:28.04.1983 (Aged 29)
Bryony is the UK’s top ranked female windsurfer. She is currently second in the world class standings and is the country’s first Olympic Bronze Medallist in her class. In May 2012, Bryony was one of the first athletes to be selected to represent Great Britain at the London 2012 Games.
Bryony started windsurfing in the south of France at the age of 9 and immediately developed a passion for the sport. She started to show interest in racing at the age of 15 and as soon as she had tasted competition, she knew that one day she wanted to be World and Olympic Champion. These goals helped Bryony through the cold winter training sessions and the early mornings, until she got her first break and became a part of the under 17 National Windsurfing Team.
The RS:X is one of the newest classes at the Olympics, making its debut in Beijing in 2008. Until 2005, Bryony competed in the former Olympic windsurfing class, the Mistral. Bryony’s real talent has shown through in the RS:X class – she’s won three gold medals at major Olympic Classes events in addition to her Gold at the 2007 Olympic Test Event, Silver at the 2007 RS:X European Championships, and her Bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics.
To keep up to date with Bryony’s visit www.bryonyshaw.com or follow her on twitter @BRYONYSHAW
Born: 11Th November 1992 (Aged 19)
Sport: Judo (U55kg weight division)
James Martin started Judo at a young age, while attending Mascalls School. Joining the Tonbridge Judo Club in the U50kg weight category. He achieved his first successes in 2008, going from being the Kent County Junior Closed Champion to the bronze medal in the British Championships. Before the year was out he had represented Great Britain in tournaments in the Czech Republic and Portugal, ultimately winning the Tuzla Club at the European Youth Tournament in Berlin and taking gold in the Limsfjord Cup in Denmark, where he beat all five of his opponents with the maximum possible score.
Following such a meteoric rise he joined the World Class Talent Programme and in 2009 picked up medals in the North West Banded Championships, the Midland Area U20 age banded championships and became a member of the World Class Development Squad.
In 2010 he picked up a bronze in the England U20 open championships and became a member of the Great Britain Under 20’s squad, representing Great Britain at the U20 Spanish Cup, where he got a bronze medal. In 2011 he won the bronze in the Heart of England Senior Championships.
He is currently in the GB top 3 in he U55kg weight division