Will Bayley

Will Bayley to star in Strictly Come Dancing!

Paul Stimpson

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Paralympic table tennis champion Will Bayley will strut his stuff in front of an audience of millions after being named as a contestant for the upcoming series of Strictly Come Dancing.

The Rio 2016 Class 7 gold medallist, was one of two dancers to be named today as the BBC reveals who will be taking part in the hit show, which airs in the run-up to Christmas.

31-year-old Bayley, who last week won the Class 7 singles at the PTT Japan Open in Tokyo – where he will defend his Paralympic title next year – 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.”

“I don’t really dance at parties and I have no dancing background so it will be funny to watch me trying to learn.

“I’m most looking forward to getting to know everyone on the show – the other contestants and the professional dancers – and it will be amazing to be taught how to dance by a top professional.”

Bayley attended the Brit School for Performing Arts in Croydon and once appeared in a DVD We’ve Got The Toaster so has some experience of performing and is determined to embrace the glitz and the glamour of the show, including the costumes, fake tans and sequins. However, he does admit to one fear, saying: “I’m most afraid of falling over!”

Bayley is not the only sporting connection on this year’s series – former England goalkeeper David James is also among the contestants, as is BBC sports news presenter Mike Bushell.

Among the other dancers bidding to win the title are EastEnders actress Emma Barton, comedian Chris Ramsey and YouTuber Saffron Barker, with more to be announced in the coming days.

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