Who is Will Bayley?
Bayley is a Paralympic table-tennis champion. The 31-year-old, who suffers from arthrogryposis (congenital joint contracture), decided to take up table-tennis as a child following a cancer diagnosis.
After joining a table tennis club in his hometown of Tunbridge Wells, Bayley went on to compete in the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, where he was knocked out in the preliminary stages. However, he went on to win gold medals in the Czech and German opens in 2009, and golds in the Lignano and Brazil opens in 2010.
Bayley won a gold medal in the singles at the 2011 European Championships in Split, Croatia and took silver in the London 2012 Paralympics.
“It was surreal, but I’d watched the programme before and knew what to expect, so it was a great experience,” he said.
“I just can’t bring myself to watch it back though; first dates are hard enough and I just think it would be so cringey to watch myself.”
However, Bayley parted with his date as “friends”, before meeting his current partner Fiona York at a reception – the pair now have a child together.
What has Will Bayley said about performing on Strictly Come Dancing?
Bayley, by his own admission, can’t dance.
“I have never, ever danced in my life,” he told Julia Hartley-Brewer on TalkRADIO. “Apart from in clubs where my friends have told me to stop dancing in the club because I’m awful, so it’s going to be tough.”
Despite this, Bayley is determined to work hard and do his partner proud.
“I’ll work really hard, but I need someone to be honest, I just want someone to tell me if I’m rubbish!” he joked.