British Para table tennis stars visit National Spinal Injuries Centre

Date: 15/04/2024 | Category: News 2024

On Tuesday 9 April British Para table tennis stars Will Bayley MBE and Bly Twomey visited the National Spinal Injuries Centre (NSIC) with Brighton Table Tennis Club (BTTC) founder Tim Holtam.

Will Bayley is a British professional Paralympic table tennis player, ranked world number 1 in Class 7, gold medal winner from Rio 2016 and silver medallist at Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Bly Twomey is an up-and-coming Para table tennis player who, at just 13, is currently ranked 5th in the world in Class 7. She’s most recently won a singles and doubles title for Great Britain at the ITTF Lignano Masters Para Open in Italy.

BTTC came to visit their player, 18 year old Jack Silberston. Following a tumour on his spine Jack came to the NSIC as part of his rehabilitation programme. Jack started playing wheelchair table tennis during his first admission and he enjoyed the sessions so much that he then found a local club near home, BTTC, and began playing. Even in the short time since he started playing, just six months, Jack has recently won three gold medals at the Malmo Open.

Will and Bly hosted two sessions for patients, both children and adults, starting with a demonstration from Bly followed by the opportunity for patients to get involved and have one to one coaching.

Jack Silberston, NSIC patient said: “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, Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist at the Trust said: “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.”

Tim Holtam, BTTC Director said: “It was an honour to visit BTTC’s Jack Silberston at Stoke Mandeville Hospital with Will Bayley and Bly Twomey – the birthplace of the Paralympics. 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!”

Jack Silberston playing table tennis during the session with Will Bayley and BTTC

Tim Holtam (BTTC Director), Will Bayley (Paralympian), Jack Silberston (BTTC player), Sammy (Physio Assistant), Kirsten (Clinical Specialist Physiotherapist), Bly Twomey (BTTC player)

Bly and Will talking to NSIC patients during the session

Photos by Caleb Yule Photography