Strictly Come Dancing's Will Bayley Hopeful Of Paralympic Future As He Returns To Ballroom

The injured star gave an update on his condition after being forced to withdraw from the BBC show.

Will Bayley has vowed to make the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, despite an injury he sustained on Strictly Come Dancing casting doubt on his ability to participate.

The table tennis player returned to the Strictly ballroom on Saturday night to support his co-stars, after pulling out of the competition last week.

Will was forced to quit the BBC series having already having sat out a live show, after injuring his knee during a rehearsal.

Having previously shared his concerns it would rule him out of the 2020 games, he told host Tess Daly he is now hoping to go for gold again.

Will Bayley with Strictly host Tess Daly
Will Bayley with Strictly host Tess Daly

He said his knee is still strapped up, but added: “It’s getting there.

“I want to see how it is in a few weeks. I will be there for Tokyo, I want to try to win that gold medal again.”

Will is currently ranked the world No.1 table tennis player and is the reigning Paralympic gold medallist, having triumphed in the Rio de Janeiro games in 2016.

During Saturday’s show, he also told of his disappointment at being unable to compete in the ballroom.

“I am so gutted but it’s so good to be here to support everyone, they are smashing it tonight,” he said.

Will and dance partner Janette Manrara
Will and dance partner Janette Manrara
BBC/Ray Burmiston

“I feel like I’ve had the most support through this process, so the least I can do is come back to support you. I’m proud to watch these guys.”

He also paid tribute to dance partner Janette Manrara, saying: “Janette has been a rock to me, she believed in me and I just can’t speak highly enough of her.

“If there was any way I could dance I promise I would be out there giving it my best shot, but it’s impossible for me.”

Will previously shared his concerns for his Paralympic future after his accident, telling The Sun: “The second I landed and felt it I thought ‘Tokyo’ but thought I’d get some physio, rest it for a day, and be back dancing next week.

“I can take pain, I’ve been in pain all my life, but I screamed in agony and the next day I couldn’t do anything, so alarm bells started ringing.

“It has hurt ever since. I went for a scan, and now the decision has been taken out of my hands.”

Strictly Come Dancing continues on Sunday at 7.15pm on BBC One.

Aliona Vilani

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