Little wonder then, that his win in China in September sparked huge celebrations.
Bayley was born with arthrogryposis, a rare congenital condition that effected all four of his limbs. From age of three months, he underwent countless operations at Great Ormond Street Hospital in a bid to help improve his condition. His love of table tennis began at the age of seven when - after being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and undergoing chemotherapy, again at Great Ormond Street – he was given a table by his grandmother.
After the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, Bayley returned to China with Team GB’s able-bodied squad and set his sights on London in 2012. His dreams of gold were ultimately dashed in the final in the capital but, back in China, he finally achieved his ambition of becoming world champion in September.
He did it the hard way, too, having been handed a draw from hell in the competition. In the end he had to beat the double Paralympic champion, the European champion and, finally, the world number one to take the gold medal.
“Through his hard work, commitment and ‘never give up’ attitude, Will Bayley is an inspiration to everyone,” his public nomination read.