Bayley came up short against Chinese competitor Yan Shuo in a four-set showdown during the Class 7 final in Tokyo.
Will Bayley, Paralympic table tennis champion, is buzzing with anticipation that the upcoming 2024 Paris Paralympics will be an event for the record books.
The one-year countdown kicks off this Monday, leading up to a thrilling 12-day spectacle that will unfold from August 28 to September 8 in the City of Light.
At 35, Bayley is geared up to participate in his fifth Paralympic Games, aiming to expand his collection of one gold and three silver medals.
“I’m gearing up for a Paralympic bash like no other,” Bayley shared with Sport News Center. “London set an incredible standard, and playing before my home crowd? Unforgettable. But I’ve got a hunch Paris will rise to the occasion. France is a nation that takes immense pride in their heritage, and I anticipate a Paralympics that will be both awe-inspiring and unique.”
Currently stationed in Brighton, Bayley is in full preparation mode for the European Championships, slated to occur at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield from September 4 to 9. He’s setting his sights on adding European gold to his global accolades.
After a triumphant gold run in Rio and bagging both individual and team silver in Tokyo 2021—following a speedy recovery from a major injury incurred on the TV show Strictly Come Dancing in 2019—Bayley is a seasoned competitor.
“I’ve been through the Paralympic wringer,” he elaborates. “From nearly losing every match in my Beijing debut to soaring into a surprise final in London 2012—where I lost—you could say I’ve had a steep learning curve. Fast-forward to my Rio win and then Tokyo’s close calls; it’s been a rollercoaster. But right now, I’ve never been more tuned into my game. I’ve got my eyes on the prize and I’m not planning on slowing down. I’ve been on a winning streak post-Tokyo and intend to keep that momentum.”
The absence of crowd energy in Tokyo made for a challenging environment, but Bayley is eager for the electric atmosphere that a live audience can bring in both Sheffield and Paris.
“It’s no secret; I feed off the crowd’s energy,” Bayley continued. “In Tokyo, that void made it tough. But my drive to win remains sky-high. It’s just part of who I am, and that’s why I’m still in the game, raring to go.”
Great Britain’s Prospective Paris Squad
Great Britain showcased a robust team of over 220 athletes across 19 sports in Tokyo, landing the second spot in the medal tally with a grand total of 124 medals: 41 gold, 38 silver, and 45 bronze.
The squad size for Paris is expected to be comparable, with the final roster set to be unveiled in July 2024.
Tokyo champs like cyclist Sarah Storey—who boasts a record 17 Paralympic golds—wheelchair racer Hannah Cockroft, swimmer Maisie Summers-Newton, and equestrian talents Lee Pearson and Sophie Wells, are all chomping at the bit to add more bling to their medal cabinets.
ParalympicsGB chef de mission Penny Briscoe confidently proclaimed, “Expect spine-tingling podium moments daily. Our mission is to empower athletes to rack up personal-best performances in Paris.”
High Stakes for Paris Hosts
France is amping up to field its most sizable team yet, with an estimated 220 to 240 athletes ready to take center stage, aiming to improve upon their 14th place showing in Tokyo where they snagged 55 medals, 11 of which were gold.
French powerhouses like cyclists Florian Jouanny, Alexandre Leaute, and Heidi Gauguin, who recently struck gold at the World Championships in Glasgow, will be ones to watch. Likewise, triathlete Alexis Hanquinquant, who has been undefeated since a Tokyo test event in 2019, will be a key competitor.
Despite their athletics team’s underwhelming performance at the Worlds, France’s swimming team gave a stellar account of themselves, earning four gold medals. Among the favorites for home glory are visually impaired swimmer Alex Portal, along with his younger brother Kylian and Ugo Didier.
Didier remarked, “The buzz of the home crowd will be electrifying. There’s immense pressure, but it’s an honor to host the Games on our soil.”
Both the nation and the athletes are under the spotlight, but the anticipation for a phenomenal Paralympics in Paris is palpable, promising a thrilling showdown that could set new benchmarks for the movement.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about 2024 Paris Paralympics
What is the main prediction that Will Bayley has for the 2024 Paris Paralympics?
Will Bayley, a Paralympic table tennis gold medallist, anticipates that the upcoming 2024 Paris Paralympic Games will be one of the most remarkable events ever. He cites the incredible atmosphere and fan support at previous games, particularly London, as benchmarks that Paris is likely to meet or exceed.
Who are some of the other notable Team GB athletes expected to compete in Paris?
Sarah Storey, Hannah Cockroft, Maisie Summers-Newton, Lee Pearson, and Sophie Wells are among the Tokyo medallists from Team GB who are likely to aim for further glory in Paris.
What is the size and composition of the French team for the Paris 2024 Paralympics?
How many athletes and sports will feature in the 2024 Paris Paralympics?
The event will host approximately 4,400 athletes, competing in a total of 549 events across 22 different sports.
When do tickets for the 2024 Paris Paralympics go on sale?
Tickets are scheduled to be available on October 9th and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
How did Team GB perform in the previous Paralympics in Tokyo?
Team GB had a stellar performance in Tokyo, finishing second in the medal table behind China. They secured a total of 124 medals, including 41 gold, 38 silver, and 45 bronze.
What kind of preparation is Will Bayley undergoing for the upcoming Paralympics?
Will Bayley is currently prepping for the European Championships at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield, as he aims to add the European title to his world championship accolades.
What challenges and pressures are there for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games?
After financial issues plagued the Rio Games and the Tokyo Games were impacted by the pandemic, there is significant pressure on Paris to ensure that the Paralympic movement continues to progress. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) president Andrew Parsons acknowledges this, citing the need for media support and public engagement.
Who are some emerging stars in the French Paralympic team?
Cyclists Florian Jouanny, Alexandre Leaute, and Heidi Gauguin have all won gold medals at recent World Championships. Additionally, triathlete Alexis Hanquinquant has been unbeaten since the Tokyo test event in August 2019.
How important is crowd support for Will Bayley’s performance?
For Will Bayley, the energy from the crowd is a vital part of his game. After experiencing the Tokyo Paralympics behind closed doors, he’s eagerly anticipating the thrill of a live audience both in the upcoming European Championships in Sheffield and in Paris 2024.
More about 2024 Paris Paralympics
- Will Bayley’s Official Profile
- Team GB Paralympics Performance in Tokyo
- Paris 2024 Paralympic Games Official Site
- International Paralympic Committee (IPC)
- French Paralympic Team Profile
- European Championships at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield
- Sarah Storey’s Career Highlights
- Tokyo Paralympics Medal Table
- Recent World Championships in Para-cycling
- Andrew Parsons’ Interview on the Paralympic Movement
- Profile of Alexis Hanquinquant, French Triathlete
- Overview of Paralympic Sports and Events
- Ticket Sales Information for Paris 2024 Paralympics