Belfast Telegraph

Paralympian Will Bayley wants to inspire on Strictly Come Dancing

He was worried he would be unable to dance.

Will Bayley, one of the contestants in BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing (Ray Burmiston/BBC)
Will Bayley, one of the contestants in BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing (Ray Burmiston/BBC)

By Craig Simpson, PA

Will Bayley hopes to inspire people by dancing despite his disability.

The Paralympian gold medal-winner was born with arthrogryposis and was concerned that he would be unable to perform on Strictly Come Dancing.

Bayley, who took victory in table tennis at the Games in Rio de Janeiro, said a major motivation for doing the BBC show was to inspire others.

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Bayley with his dance partner Janette Manrara (Ray Burmiston/BBC)

Partnered with professional Janette Manrara, the athlete revealed he has the will to fight against patronising doubts in his ability, and to put on a show.

He said: “I was really worried about doing the show. I’m not sure if I can literally, physically do some of this stuff.  I was really worried.

“I really didn’t know if I could dance. I didn’t know if I could move. I didn’t know if I was going to fall over.”

He added on his position as a role model for other disabled people: “I think it’s massively important.

“One of the biggest reasons why I wanted to do the show is I wanted to push myself, I wanted to inspire people.

“People thought, ‘Oh Will, he’s got this disability, he’s going to give it a go but he’s going to struggle’.

“So I’ve really got this fighting attitude. I want to go out there and actually dance, put on a show.”

Bayley has the support of dance partner Manrara, who believes the show can change perceptions.

She said: “One of the best things about being part of Strictly Come Dancing in general is to entertain people, but also to inspire people.

“Will’s story is so incredible, and so inspiring.”

PA

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