Brighton Table Tennis Champions Inspire at National Spinal Injuries Centre

Paralympic champion Will Bayley and rising star Bly Twomey, both members of the Brighton Table Tennis Club (BTTC), recently visited the National Spinal Injuries Centre (NSIC) in Stoke Mandeville, the birthplace of the Paralympic movement. The duo joined BTTC founder Tim Holtam to connect with their club-mate, 18-year-old Jack Silberston, who has been undergoing rehabilitation at the NSIC following a spinal tumor.

Jack, who began playing wheelchair table tennis during his first admission at the NSIC, has found great joy in the sport and has already achieved impressive results, winning three gold medals at the Malmo Open, despite having played for only around six months.

The visit provided an opportunity for Will, the Paralympic champion at Rio 2016 and current world No. 1 in Class 7, and Bly, ranked No. 5 in the world in Class 7 and recently a gold medalist at the ITTF Lignano Masters Para Open in Italy, to share their expertise and inspire the patients at the NSIC.

The star athletes hosted two sessions, starting with a demonstration by 13-year-old Bly, followed by one-on-one coaching for both children and adults. Jack Silberston expressed his gratitude, stating:

“It was a great experience to have some of the Brighton Table Tennis Club come to see where the Paralympic Games started. I think everyone involved enjoyed themselves, and hopefully, some of the patients are now thinking about pursuing table tennis. Sport can be so transformative for people with disabilities.”

Kirsten Hart, a Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist at the Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, echoed these sentiments, saying:

“The visit provided such a lot of energy and enthusiasm. It was great to see the patients enjoying the coaching and support from Will and Bly. I think we may have inspired a few potential future players.”

BTTC Director Tim Holtam expressed his delight in visiting the NSIC, the birthplace of the Paralympics, with Will and Bly, stating:

“We want to make this a really strong link and show how incredible table tennis can be when it’s done properly. Thanks so much to all of the staff and patients at Stoke Mandeville for making us so welcome, we will be back soon for more!”

The visit not only brought joy and inspiration to the patients at the NSIC but also highlighted the transformative power of table tennis for individuals with disabilities. As the sport continues to grow in popularity and accessibility, stories like this reinforce its profound impact on the lives of those who embrace it.

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