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Tunbridge Wells Paralympian Will Bayley partnered with Janette Manrara on Strictly Come Dancing

A Kent Paralympian is swapping table tennis for the Argentine Tango as he stars in this year's Strictly Come Dancing.

Gold medallist Will Bayley, from Tunbridge Wells, appeared on the first episode of the BBC One series last night.

Will Bayley will be on Strictly Come Dancing
Will Bayley will be on Strictly Come Dancing

The 31-year-old, speaking on Julia Hartley-Brewer's talkRADIO breakfast show, said he was excited to get the opportunity.

Will said: "I'm so proud to be on the show, it's my family's favourite show. I have no dance experience at all, but I hope I can do well.

"I want to inspire people with a disability - that would mean a lot to me. I want to prove to people I can do this."

He added: "It's going to be hard. It’s going to be a real challenge. My balance is affected."

He was paired up last night with professional dancer Janette Manrara.

Will got into the groove on last night's show. Picture: BBC (16274149)
Will got into the groove on last night's show. Picture: BBC (16274149)

Will was born with arthrogryposis, a rare joint condition which affects his legs and arms.

At 11-years-old he joined Byng Hall Table Tennis Club in Tunbridge Wells. By the age of 16 he was representing the Kent men’s team of able-bodied players.

He went on to compete in the London Paralympics in 2012, where he was sadly defeated in the final.

Will made his comeback in Rio 2016 where he won gold.

In January 2017, he was awarded an MBE for services for table tennis.

Will Bayley will appear on Strictly Come Dancing. Picture: Francesca Bullock
Will Bayley will appear on Strictly Come Dancing. Picture: Francesca Bullock
Janette Manrara with Dr Ranj Singh, who appeared last season.
Janette Manrara with Dr Ranj Singh, who appeared last season.

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